Tag Archives: tucson

The Luckiest, #1254

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My daughter is the most special little girl.  She is beautiful inside and out.  I have known this from the moment I laid eyes on her, but every once in while there will be a key moment that makes me understand this on a deeper level.  Yesterday, her beauty was at its most radiant, and I am beyond proud.

For two years, my daughter has been growing out her hair.  Her long hair was gorgeous – thick and wavy.  She had always talked about donating her hair when she eventually would cut it, but I was beginning to wonder if it was ever really going to happen.

Yesterday, as we were headed to the hair dresser, she suddenly had the desire for this beauty salon visit to be THE day.  And so….here it is in pictures, blog readers.  The end of my daughter’s hair journey, and the moment when kindness became a selfless act.

My daughter and I have a wonderful hair dresser.  Courtney Cimino owns her own boutique salon called Bold Boutique.  It is in a Sola Salon complex, and it is a tiny little haven to go to when you need hair perfection.  When we announced to her that we needed to cut 8 inches off, she was excited and happy to do the job.

Here is the before picture.  So long hair!

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The snip…

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Ponytail gone!

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Admiring the new look…

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Thank you Courtney!  You’re an awesome hairdresser, and we are so glad that we got to share this moment with you.  You made it special, and my daughter looks even more gorgeous than she already was.

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The 8 inch ponytail is being sent off to Pantene Beautiful Lengths where they, in turn, will turn it into a wig for a cancer patient.  It takes 8 ponytails to make one wig, and Pantene has donated 42,000 wigs to the American Cancer Society’s wig bank to date.  Many organizations that take hair donations require a 10-12 inch ponytail, but Pantene accepts 8 inch ponytails which makes it a little easier to donate.  (CLICK HERE to read their hair donation requirements.)

I couldn’t be more proud that my 11-year-old daughter decided on her own that she wanted to do this extreme act of kindness.  It came from her heart and required commitment and bravery.  She is amazing, and I am one lucky Mama.

That is why my song of the day is “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds Five, because lucky doesn’t even begin to describe the pride I have for her.  She is a blessing in every kind of way.

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Fashion, #1231

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Oh gosh!  I am such a girlie girl, and sometimes in my rock ‘n roll music haze, I forget this basic element to my soul – until something happens that reminds me.

I will tell you what has brought my inner femme fatale to the forefront – a new amazing mall in my city!  I definitely have “mall rat” in my blood line, and the Tucson Premium Outlets are as good as anything I could have dreamt up.

There are over 60 stores in a beautiful setting – all top quality and all at discounted prices.  Too good, huh?

I am not one for crowds, and so we avoided the grand opening this past weekend.  Yesterday, on a Monday, we had a day off that most people are not off for, however, so we skipped over the crowds and bounced from store to store quite happily.  I bought some great new things, and man – I was holding back!  I could have bought so much more.  The Tucson Premium Outlets is a little bit of a dangerous place for me.  I could go nuts there!

So Tucsonans, we are lucky.  There is a source for new fashion at our fingertips.  Go check it out, and here’s little shopping music for y’all.  Nobody says “Fashion” better than Bowie!

Mother Nature’s Son, #1224

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I have a friend who’s from Tucson but doesn’t live here anymore.  She misses it.  I know she does, because anytime I post pictures on Facebook of nature shots that move me as I’m going about my daily life in Tucson, she comments, likes and sometimes even shares my photos.  She even begs me to post more, more, more.

Last night, as I was driving through a glorious sunset, I pulled out my iPhone at a red light and snapped this:

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Stunning, huh?  Well, that’s Tucson.  Our sunsets light up the sky.  We have monsoons that cause monsters of clouds to charge through the sky, bolts of lightening that look like they’re leading to the end of the world and then an aftermath of rainbows that bring about smiles of hope and clarity.

I totally get why my friend misses it here.  Tucson is like nature’s wonderland.  All we’re missing is an ocean, and that would make it perfect.

So, a nod to nature today, because sometimes it’s so beautiful here it brings tears to my eyes.  The Beatles wrote “Mother Nature’s Son,” a song that embraces all of the natural world.  As my friend said in a message to me, “It’s not hard to find something beautiful in Tucson.”  True that!

September, #1205

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It has been an incredibly eventful week here on the home front, and now i’m finally taking a moment to look back and absorb it all.  It was kind of a traumatic process to go through, but I believe in the silver lining, and in this case, there definitely is one.

My daughter started at a new school last year, and it was an excellent move for her.  The easiest thing in the world would have been to transfer our son to the same school, so of course we explored the prospect.  Having them at the same school would mean same schedules, less schlepping, etc.  The only thing was, however, was that my son was having an excellent experience at his own school.  He made great friends and had wonderful teachers.  I subscribe to the ideology that if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  It was a tough decision, but we were all set to return him to the school he had become so familiar with for the last three years.

And then, it’s as if a higher force took over.  In Hebrew, there is a word – Besheret.  You could use this word to describe your soul mate, but really, in its essence, it could be thought of as the word that is all encompassing of “meant to be.”

As I was driving to my son’s school’s “meet your teacher” open house, this happened….

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….a little spark of smoke on the mountain.  Looking back on it, perhaps it was a message of “fire up ahead.”

We walked into my son’s new classroom at his beloved school, and the shock began to settle in.  All of his friends from the last three years plus his friends from his after school program were in one classroom together.  He was placed in a classroom completely alone not knowing anyone.  His face fell when the realization hit.  When he looked up at me with sad puppy dog eyes, I knew at that moment I needed to do something.  “Mommy, I don’t want to go to this school,” he said in tears.  I had another choice, so i said, “Okay.  I just need to make a phone call.”

We left – all of the purchased school supplies still in their tote bag and stored safely back into our trunk.  The fire burned stronger.

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At 3:30 pm, the afternoon before school was starting, we enrolled our son into a new school.  We decided that if he was being required to start all over again with the school that was supposed to be a comforting and familiar place for him, then why not have him start over at a new place all together.  Seriously, what are the chances that in a place he had been involved with for so long that he’d be confronted with a situation of feeling so isolated?  On to a very new beginning as the fire raged on….

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Morning came, and the inferno outside my front door was mostly gone as a result of a small early morning rain.  Everything was washed anew, and a new  beginning was ahead.  Here is my happy boy with a grin so bright that it lit up the sky in a much better way than a threatening fire could.

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So you might all be asking why this blog is called “September?”  It’s August, and though this song may seem to have no meaning for the moment, it is a wonderful and happy ending to this crazy story.

With only two days of school behind him, my son has been talking about this song he learned in music class called “September.”  Finally, this morning he wanted to share it with me.  He typed it into Youtube, and Earth, Wind & Fire jumped to life.  Ahhh -the music teacher is way cool and has good musical taste.  Suddenly, it occurred to me, Earth, wind and fire were finally all aligned in our world, and sometimes things really are besheret.

Lots of “Little Boxes” at the New Container Store, #1187

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Little boxes in every shape, color and size at The Container Store!

Little boxes in every shape, color and size at The Container Store!

I had an extraordinary experience this week, blog readers, that I must share with all of you.  I was invited to a special blogger preview party at the new Container Store whose grand opening is in Tucson this weekend.  It was such a unique and special event that I am truly compelled to tell you all about it and to plug this incredibly inspiring business.

GiftCardWhen I arrived, I was treated to a delicious boxed lunch (of course!), a package of materials all about The Container Store and a complete surprise of a gift card in a sweet little box.  I loved sitting in the company of other Tucson bloggers such as Tucsontopia, Tucson Foodie and Arizona Families.  Each and every blogger there had their own unique story (and site!), and it’s such a rare opportunity for us to meet one another.

Our host for the afternoon was Robin, a marketing manager and event specialist, who was flown out from corporate headquarters in Dallas to spend the whole weekend here in Tucson making sure that this is an unforgettable kickoff in our community.  I was unable to go to the preview party later that evening, but the Arizona Daily Star described it as “the hottest ticket in town.”  CLICK HERE to read their story all about it.

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Robin filled us in on some unbelievable details about the store.  Here are a few key points:

–The 1st Container Store was opened in 1978, and its claim to fame was selling dairy crates that college students use in dorm rooms to store their belongings.  This Tucson store is its 71st location.

–The Tucson Container Store location is 21,00 square feet and sells over 10,000 products in the store.  It took over the Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill location which closed earlier this year.

–The Container Store has a “1 in 3” philosophy.  In other words, they rather hire one great employee rather than three good employees.  Each employee receives 263 hours of training before they ever begin working on the floor, a huge contrast to the 10 hours of training that most retail stores provide.

–When a Container Store opens in a new location, they always select a local nonprofit to give 10% of their grand opening proceeds to.  In Tucson, it was the Tucson Symphony Orchestra that was chosen – oh yes, music to this Tucson Songstress’s ears!  CLICK HERE to learn more about the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and shop, shop, shop this weekend to stock up on great items for your home and to do a good deed at the same time.  I love shopping for a good cause!

One last cool detail….

–The Chairman and CEO of the Container Stores, Kip Tindell, has written a really interesting book on the philosophies of the Container Store that is sold in all of the stores.  It has the perfect title – “Uncontainable,” and it sounds like a really inspiring read about this very interesting business.  Make sure to check it out when you make a trip to this location.

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I couldn’t stop taking photos during my visit to the Tucson Container store this week, because everything is just a feast for the eyes.  There are colors and neatly stacked boxes that make you want to go home and start organizing.  The Container Store is as visually interesting as the circus, so check out some of these pictures, and maybe some of my enthusiasm will get you inspired, too.

A rainbow of boxes

A rainbow of boxes

A Grid system

A Grid system

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An “Elfa” kitchen. If you bring in the dimensions of your space, a Container Store employee will help you learn all of the ways to configure the space through this Elfa brand system.

Great solutions for storing jewelry

Great solutions for storing jewelry

Rows of gift wrapping

Rows of gift wrapping

Pretty tote bags

Pretty tote bags

The Container Store also provides a service where it can be arranged to have an at-home consultation to custom design a closet or other space

The Container Store also provides a service where it can be arranged to have an at-home consultation to custom design a closet or other space

Here’s the important information you all need to know in order to visit Tucson’s newest hot spot.

The Container Store
Website:  CLICK HERE
4500 N. ORACLE RD., TUCSON, AZ 85705
Grand Opening Weekend:  Sat. & Sun. May 30th & 31st
(Prize giveaways given every hour and 10% of all proceeds this weekend benefiting the Tucson Symphony Orchestra)
MONDAY – SATURDAY 10 AM – 9 PM; SUNDAY 12 PM – 6 PM

In true Tucson Songstress fashion, there is a song of the day for every story.  The song I selected for this one is called “Little Boxes,” because the Container Store is filled to the brim with them.  “Little Boxes was written by Malvina Reynolds in 1962, but American folksinger, Pete Seeger was the artist who made it famous.  The song is a big political satire about everything in suburbia looking exactly the same stacked up in “little boxes.”  It was brought to my attention that the TV show “Weeds” has used this song recently, and my use of it for this blog could possibly be misinterpreted.  No such thing for me!  I’m taking the song at face value, because in the context that I intend, sometimes little boxes can be just the thing the doctor ordered.  In my opinion, being organized leads to a healthy way of being, and I am so excited to have a whole store of helpers with my efforts only a few miles away.  Thank you, Container Store Tucson, for a wonderful introduction to your beautiful store.  I am certain Tucson will welcome you with open arms, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to have you in my town!  Welcome to the Old Pueblo!

Rocky Mountain High, #1146

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We are really busy people in my family, and so when we get away for a vacation, we pack in as much as we can.  The past 5 days were filled to the brim with fun, and I have so many stories to tell and memories sealed into my brain from this wonderful time spent together as a family.

So, if you live in Tucson, here is an itinerary for an awesome road trip of quality family fun!

Day #1:  Drive to Holbrook, AZ, which is about 4-1/2 hours from Tucson.  The turn off is right after you get to Show Low in the White Mountains.  There is not much in Holbrook, but it is the gateway to the Petrified Forest, which is an awesome place to experience with children.

Day #2:  The Petrified Forest – Make sure to stop at a visitor center and ask for the Junior Ranger activity book for your kids.  If they complete at least 4 activities, then they get a Junior Ranger badge & patch before they leave the park.  The park rangers take it really seriously, and your kids will have so much fun with it while they’re learning.

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When you get out of the Petrified Forest, continue on your drive to Durango, CO, which is another 4-1/2 hours of driving.

Day #4:  We boarded on the Durango Narrow Gauge Train.  During the winter, the train goes to Cascade Canyon, which is is a 2 hour ride each way.  When you stop at Cascade Canyon, you get out and toast your fingers around a huge fire pit.  People bring picnics and eat at the picnic tables there, too.  During the rest of the year, the train goes to Silverton, which I understand is more of a town at 10, 000 ft. elevation.  As nice as it would have been to see Silverton,  I almost think a 4-hour each way train ride would have been too long for the kiddos.  The ride to Cascade Canyon was just right.  The train for a family of four is expensive.  It cost us $200, but if you’re wondering if it’s worth it, the answer is “Yes, it is!”  It was a definite highlight of our trip.

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When we stepped off the train back in Durango, we walked into a few of the little boutique shops on Main St.  The shops in Durango’s downtown are charming, and we especially had fun in the original Rocky Mountain Chocolate Shop.  The only disappointment was that Rocky Mountain didn’t have any historical signage like the first Starbucks does at Pike’s Place in Seattle.  Still, it was fun knowing we were in the very first location.

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After a long, exhausting day, we had a quiet evening at a local movie theater and then went right to bed.  Boy did we all sleep well with sweet happy dreams in our heads!

Day #5:  The one danger of a trip to Colorado in the winter time are snow storms, and the reports were telling us that a huge one was headed our way.  The plan for Day 5 would have been to go to Mesa Verde on our way out of town and heading on to Flagstaff.  As we got to the Mesa Verde visitor center, however, the storm was starting, and so we had to skip it to avoid getting stuck.  Too bad, because it looks like an amazing site.  CLICK HERE to learn more about Mesa Verde.  I’m showing y’all a picture I found online, so you get the general idea of its awesomeness and to see why we would have added it to the trip if we could have.

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As we continued on our drive to to Flagstaff (5 hours from Durango), we drove right past Four Corners and just had to stop!  How many times to you get to stand on the exact spot where Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah connect.  Again, another highlight for all of us, and the kids were so excited to experience this moment!  It is definitely one we will always remember.

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If we had more time on this trip, there are several amazing excursions that you drive right past on the I-40.  We could have stopped at Monument Valley, Canyon to Chelly, Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge Monument or the Grand Canyon.  Seriously – I could have added 5 more days on to this trip!

Day #6:  After a snowy night in Flagstaff, we headed back to Tucson through Phoenix.  It’s a 4-1/2 hour drive, so it’s easy to get home at a decent hour.

What a wonderful time we had on this trip, and I highly recommend this itinerary for any Tucson family looking to get away.

Of course, with a Colorado vacation, my song of the day is by John Denver, because he is definitely the music of that region.  It is totally understandable that he sang of a “Rocky Mountain High,” because when you spend time in Colorado, you are overcome by its beauty.  So, here’s “Rocky Mountain High” which I will be humming all day long with a big grin on my face reliving these very special memories.

Cold As Ice

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There is news being plastered all over the internet of the major blizzard that could slam the East Coast today.  It sounds pretty torrential, and not to be a pessimist, but I take everything the weather casters say with a grain of salt.  Regardless, I haven’t always lived in the desert.  My childhood was spent in the Midwest, and we had our fair share of snow storms.  I even remember one time in college visiting my parents, and being snowed in with them for 5 days.  I love my parents, but man – 5 days with the people who invented the buttons that get pushed is a little much!  I will say, we made the best of it.  That was the time we all learned how to make a pasta sauce recipe that an Italian friend had passed along to us. Kudos to my Mom for keeping a stocked pantry!

It’s funny how your perspective changes when you get older though.  On New Year’s Eve this year, it snowed in Tucson, and I was absolutely giddy with joy.  It was truly one of the happiest ways I’ve ever started a New Year – all because of the snow I loathed as a child.  Just look how beautiful it was!

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My song of the day is for all the East Coasters and what may be.  Please be safe, but make the best of it, because sometimes snow days are good for the soul.  Here’s some Foreigner to get you in the mood.  Get all snuggly and warm and make sure your pantry is stocked.  😉