Ditch the Dating Apps: Professional matchmaker helps singles find love

By Jordan Houston It’s February, the season of valentines, and love is in the air – unless it isn’t. Cue renowned professional matchmaker Erica McKay.  The Minnesota native helms her own boutique matchmaking company, Erica Suzanne Fultz, and has spent over 20 years connecting men and women nationwide with their forever someone. Despite the rise of digital dating apps, McKay has built a reputation for hersel ...

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The Face of American Polo: Nic Roldan looks forward to Scottsdale’s beauty

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski Nic Roldan has played polo around the world, but every year he’s drawn to the energy of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Presented by Talking Stick Resort. “I’ve played all over the world,” says Roldan, who is also a model. “You get to see some of the most incredible places, meet some incredible people and see some of the most beautiful fields and backdrops — Scottsda ...

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All That Jazz: Benefactors unveil Lakeshore’s new venue

By Bridgette M. Redman The dream of two Valley jazz supporters will open its doors this October. Bob and Gretchen Ravenscroft have built the new 30,000-square-foot performing arts venue bearing their name at 8445 E. Hartford Drive in the Scottsdale Perimeter Complex. The first resident company to perform there will be Lakeshore Music, which is moving from the Tempe Center for the Arts. The opening show, the ...

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Arts at the Rocks: Maestro Hector Olivera brings his world-class talent to Desert Hills

By North Valley Magazine Staff Maestro Hector Olivera will perform during the Desert Hills Presbyterian Church’s second dedication concert for the state-of-the-art Rodgers Infinity 361 digital and pipe combination organ. Part of the Arts at the Rocks series, the concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, November 7, is expected to be filled to capacity, creating an experience of a lifetime for those who can attend the free ...

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‘Love Affair’ with the Desert: Diana Madaras shows the colorful side of Tucson

By Laura Latzko Tucson gallery owner and painter Diana Madaras has had a 45-year love affair with the city’s landscape and wildlife. Each fall, she takes that relationship and parlays it into her annual show. This year, she dubbed it “Love Affair,” and it runs from Saturday, October 23, to Sunday, November 7, at her gallery. For “Love Affair,” Madaras painted desert landscapes and floral scenes as well as p ...

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Fit for an Emperor: JB Smoove welcomes sports betting, Caesars Sportsbook to Arizona

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski The Emmy Awards, HBO and sports betting in Arizona have one thing in common. JB Smoove has a hand in them. Earlier this year, Smoove received his first career Emmy nomination for Best Actor in a Short Form Series for his performance as Chief Billy Bills in the “Mapleworth Murders.” The nomination was a long time coming for the acclaimed showman. “I got my start in the industry ...

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‘Exciting and Challenging’: The virtual Beaux Arts supports the students at Scottsdale Artists’ School

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski Trudy Hays says the Scottsdale Artists’ School found taking its virtual fundraiser online was “exciting and challenging.” Because patrons around the world had the chance to participate, the school is doing it again. The 28th annual Beaux Arts is set for November 10 to November 13. “Taking Beaux Arts to a virtual platform last year for the first time was both exciting and challe ...

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Giving People Hope: Dr. Laura Brockel amplifies her patients’ lives

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski As a child, Laura Brockel often visited her great aunt, who fell deaf after a case of the measles. She watched her struggle with amplification devices and doctors. “She found it difficult to find someone who was reputable and had the qualifications to handle someone with the profound hearing loss she had,” the North Scottsdale resident says. “She had had cords running up her dr ...

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Weathering the Storm: Avery Lane sees growth despite pandemic, hopeful for future

By Connor Dziawura The COVID-19 pandemic came at an unfortunate time for Avery Lane, a consignment store that specializes in items on the high end, from furniture, antiques and fine art to other home accessories. After seeing steady growth and expansion over the first several years in the Scottsdale Airpark, owner Darlene Richert signed for yet another expansion in December 2019, pushing the showroom past 3 ...

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Servicing the Community: Prestige Cleaners puts its neighbors and staff first

By Bridgette M. Redman Prestige Cleaners has been committed to doing the right thing by its customers, employees and community since 1964. It wasn’t about to let a thing like the pandemic change that. President and CEO Denise Testori says she’ll never forget when the news of the pandemic and the lockdowns hit. “It was St. Patty’s Day and there were a lot of rumors swirling around of what was going on,” Test ...

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Rediscovering Herself: Kaylavon Middleton emerges as a top insurance broker

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski Kaylavon Middleton is a proud, card-carrying Medicare member and, as a licensed Certified Medicare Insurance Planner, she enjoys helping others navigate the system.  “I’m there as a bridge when people get ready to retire,” Middleton says. She’s a retiree herself, well, sort of. She left BlueCross BlueShield after 16 years and knew how to tread the Medicare waters herself. Five ...

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‘You Can have it All’: Scottsdale mother empowers women as leading expert in innovative dentistry

By Jordan Houston When it comes to leadership, Dr. Sara Vizcarra sets the tone, not only as a professional but as a woman, Latina and mother as well. Dr. Vizcarra, an esteemed dentist at North Scottsdale’s Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry, has built a reputation for herself as a knowledgeable, personable and compassionate doctor in a variety of services, including cosmetic dentistry, pediatric dentistry, orth ...

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Michelle Moore says all women can be empowered to help

By Annika Tomlin Michelle Moore hasn’t let the hardships of being a mother and cancer survivor get in the way. Founder and president of the Phoenix-based nonprofit organization Mother’s Grace, Moore recently published her first book, “A Mother’s Grace: Healing the World, One Woman at a Time.” With around $2,000, Moore founded Mother’s Grace in 2009 as a nonprofit that provides financial assistance for housi ...

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Food for the Social Distancer

By Annika Tomlin The world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the government to close public dining rooms. Thankfully, there are still quite a few businesses open for carryout, takeout or delivery orders. Here are a list of restaurants or drive-thru spots that are following CDC guidelines and are still open for business. La Bocca, 5415 E. High Street, Phoenix, 480-840-1799, north.laboccapizzeria ...

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Highly Qualified Cast

By Jordan Houston A self-taught artist with an eye for statement pieces, Jamie Almaraz says she knew her hobby couldn’t support her family. So, she got creative. Now, with more than 20 years as a hairstylist under her belt, Almaraz has married her love of design to her blossoming career in one of her finest masterpieces to date—Cast Salon & Spa. “My background is in art; I have always loved it,” the Nor ...

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