Sunday, January 8, 2017

A Sign of Creativity



     Board & Brush Creative Studio, the fastest-growing wood-sign entertainment chain in the nation recently opened at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20022 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale.
      The 1,100 square foot studio fills a unique niche – providing a venue to create a custom-made home d├ęcor sign from scratch, with a bonding experience that can be shared with friends, family, or even co-workers.
      Board & Brush’s staff guides individuals and groups through all phases of the sign-making process to create a sign that looks like a vintage heirloom. In addition to instruction, Board & Brush offers work stations, pre-cut wooden signs, different stencils, seven types of stains, and 50 different colors to give each sign a customized look.

      “Board & Brush is a great place for a ladies’ night out, an imaginative refuge for moms who need a break, or even a creative alternative to a traditional bachelorette party,” said Denise Clark who co-owns the business with Glendale resident Kristyn ZumMallen. 
      Other occasions for a Board & Brush DIY wood-sign get together includes: private parties; children’s birthday bashes; corporate events and fundraisers. The store is a perfect complement to the unique offerings of the West-side shopping center. To sign up for a workshop or view Board & Brush’s calendar of events visit www.boardandbrush.com/glendale or call 602-281-3531.
     The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
     For more information about events and activities at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Memories

It's time to put the Christmas tree up again!


For many of you this may involve schlepping an aromatic pine or spruce into the living room. For others it might be a trip to the garage to haul out the annual plastic model. For me, it means it's time to re-post my favorite Christmas tree story.  So once again for it's annual airing, here is my story about the ugliest Christmas tree. Please feel free to share this others.

I was relaxed, taking in the stereo when a commercial interrupted my listening pleasure.

"Make this Christmas one that she'll never forget," droned the announcer. "Yeah," I thought. "Spend big bucks and everyone will love you. Spend enough and we may even have peace on earth."

Christmas commercialism, it seems to get worse ever year. Do not get me wrong. I enjoy Christmas. It just bothers me that everyone thinks you have to spend a lot of money to have a merry one. I thought back to the commercial, "the best Christmas ever." It took my memories back to the Christmas of my 10th year, my most unforgettable holiday.

My family and I had moved to Arizona from Chicago four years before. Arizona was in a serious recession. My father, who had always provided a healthy paycheck for his wife and five children, could not find work. We got by on unemployment checks.

Jobs were plentiful in Chicago and my father's former boss was anxious to take him back. However, after four years of quiet, safe and sunny Arizona living, my mother refused to return to the Windy City. If my father could not find employment he would return to Illinois, send money, and the rest of the family would remain in Arizona.

It was a sad time - the bickering about money, worrying if my dad would have to move away. Christmas was an added burden. Money was tight enough without the added expense of the holiday. My mother explained the financial situation to us and we knew not to expect much in the way of presents.

Of course the brightly decorated evergreens we had enjoyed in the past were out of the question. We never even asked about one. Instead we pulled a three-foot aluminum tree out from the garage. The cold tinsel stalk inspired about as much Christmas spirit as a box of Reynolds wrap.

While everyone else decorated the tree, I decided to take a stroll. As I walked toward the end of the block, I turned right so I could investigate the bowling alley parking lot where they had been selling Christmas trees. I loved the scent of the pine in the cold air, another of many reasons I hated our artificial tree. As I neared the lot, I saw that it was bare. I kicked at the fragments of broken branches. In the corner, lying on its side, was a long misshapen evergreen.

It was easy to see why the tree was discarded. However, something inside of my brain clicked. The poor tree needed a home. My home needed a tree. I grabbed the trunk, but I was not strong enough to move it. I ran home to fetch my younger brother, Terry, who I was sure would assist in my plight. As it is so often the case with brothers, Terry lacked my enthusiasm.

"I don't even think a dog would use that tree," he laughed.

"Maybe so, but it would make a fine fort," I replied. With that in mind, Terry helped me transport the tree down the block and into our back yard.





My mother looked up from washing the dishes as we walked up the driveway, and warned us against bringing that "filthy thing" into the house.

"Its for a fort!" Terry exclaimed. I just smiled.

Once the tree was in the back yard, I sent Terry on another mission. I had no intention of turning the evergreen into a fort - at least not yet.

My dad walked up and looked at the tree. It was long, sparse on the top with heavy branches on the bottom. I was sure I could win him over, so I explained my scheme to him.

"You could chop a foot off the bottom and cut the branches off and drill holes where the tree is bare and do a little transplanting," I said.

My older sister, Diane walked out and spied the tree. "Father, you are not going to let her bring that thing in the house are you?" Diane shrieked.

"I don't see why you don't like it," I said. "It looks just like you. Not enough on the top and too much on the bottom."

Diane walked off in a huff.

Whether dad was bored, liked my idea, or was caught up in my enthusiasm I cannot be sure. But soon a drill and saw were out and "Ernie" the unwanted evergreen became a beautiful Christmas tree.

Dad brought the tree inside and we placed the few ornaments we had on Ernie. To help fill in the uncovered areas, we strung popcorn and pyracantha berries and cut out little ornaments from paper. Even my 18-year-old brother, Dennis, who was fond of imitating Scrooge and saying "Bah Humbug" to any mention of Christmas, helped to get Ernie into shape.

We did not have any Christmas lights, so Terry and I pooled our money, about 90 cents, and we got the rest of the cash from "Jack rabbit," my little sister Tina's bank. I am ashamed to say it was an unauthorized withdrawal.

One string of lights did not cover much, so we pushed the tree into a corner and decorated only the front. Despite the circumstances, I was happy. We all were. Never before, and unfortunately never afterward, do I remember my family working together so joyfully. For a short while, we were happy to be together and share what we had, each other.

That was the last Christmas we celebrated together as a family for a long time. Shortly afterward, my father returned to Chicago, unable to come home permanently until I was 16.

Except for my nemesis, Diane, my siblings and I still live in Arizona. Most holidays, we get together to exchange insults and presents. Our Christmas trees are always magnificent and the presents are plentiful and brightly decorated. You will not find strings of popcorn or pyracantha berries anywhere.

Christmas carols, if they were sung (and they are not) would be drown out by the big football games that are always scheduled in honor of the birth of Jesus.

I still think back to my childhood and that yuletide of my 10th year, and I know a truckload of presents could not match the happiness I felt that day. It was a special time when my father listened to me and made a small dream come true. And it all happened because of a poor misshapen Christmas tree that nobody else wanted.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Giddyup! Here Comes Santa Claus!



     I love free family events and wanted to share this with everyone.




     Free carriage rides with Santa, songs from the Deer Valley High School Carolers, as well as other holiday festivities will begin every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 26th through Dec. 17th at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20050 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale, AZ 85308.
     Pictures with Santa are available and are a perfect and festive background to use for holiday cards and letters. Keeping with the goodwill of the holidays the shopping center will be serving as a drop off for toys for children ages seven to 17 that have Juvenile Arthritis. Cash donations will also be accepted for the Arthritis Foundation.
     “Our carriage rides with Santa has become a fun and joyous holiday tradition,” said Mary Walker, coordinator of special events for the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center and president of Power Promotions. “To enhance the holiday spirit, we also work with different charitable organizations. This year it is a toy drive for children with Juvenile Arthritis. With carolers and our carriage rides with Santa, it’s a great way to keep the holiday spirit of giving galloping along.”
      The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
                 The shopping center is located on the southwest corner of 67th Avenue at the Loop 101.  For more information contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (and Save Money!)



     Cyndi Lauper was right when she sang “girls just want to have fun.” On Thursday, Nov. 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. ladies can have fun (and save money) by going to the  Girl’s Night Out event at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20050 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale.



   Ladies can enjoy live music, a fashion show, refreshments, in-store specials, door prizes and more - all within the relaxing backdrop of a center described as the shopping star of the West Valley.
     “Our Girl’s Night Out event is a real treat for the ladies,” said Mary Walker, president of Power Promotions and coordinator of special events at the West-side shopping center. “It’s the perfect time to shop, save money, and indulge in a little pampering before the holidays begin. We hope everyone will come out and bring their gal pals with them to this exciting activity.”
    Girl’s Night Out is the last fall activity before the upscale shopping center gears up for Christmas. The holiday festivities will begin noon to 4 p.m. every Saturday from Nov. 26 through Dec. 17 with Free Carriage Rides with Santa. In addition to this popular holiday tradition shoppers can enjoy listening to strolling carolers from Deer Valley High School. The center will also be hosting a drop off site for toys donated for kids ages seven to 17 that have Juvenile Arthritis. Cash donations for the Arthritis Foundation will also be accepted.
     The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
                 The shopping center is located on the southwest corner of 67th Avenue at the Loop 101.  For more information contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Families Just Want to Have Fun (for free)!



     I love music, classic cars, and free events. So if you're like me, you'll will want to make sure to make it out for the last concert of the fall season at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center in Glendale, AZ. This will include a free fashion show, wine tasting, classic car show, as well as the ever-popular live concert series will begin Friday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., on Oct. 21st at the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center, 20050 N. 67th Ave. in Glendale. 



    The live music will be performed by the popular 8-Tracks Band. The music will be performed on the patio of AJ’s Fine Foods.  Seating is limited and attendees are encouraged to arrive early and bring a yard chair. The weekly classic car show will be held in the shopping center parking lot.This 1966 T-bird is illustrative of the type of cars you will see.



     AJ’s will offer free wine tasting inside the store from 3 to 6 p.m. each Friday before the concert begins. The latest fall fashions by the Village at Arrowhead merchants will be showcased as well from 6 to 8 p.m.
     “Summer is over and it’s time to celebrate with us,” said Mary Walker, president of Power Promotions and event coordinator for the Village at Arrowhead Shopping Center.  “Our Music at the Village, with its combination of music, fashion and classic cars have all the elements of an event that can be enjoyed by everyone in the family.”
     The Village at Arrowhead offers specialty shops that provide the ultimate shopping experience with distinctive fashion, home furnishings, restaurants and personal services in one of the most architecturally unique and aesthetically pleasing shopping centers around.
                For more information contact Marks Public Relations at 480-664-3004.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

What Happened to Prunes?



I‘m a creature of habit – particularly at breakfast. Unlike lunch and dinner where I don’t want to eat the same thing two days in a row, I’m more than happy to eat the same thing for breakfast EVERY DAY. 

But one day things changed. My younger sister, Tina, was over when I was eating my breakfast. She laughed at my prunes. She wasn’t the first person to make fun of the wrinkled fruit. My daughter, Brittany, thought it was quite funny that prunes resembled the desired after-effect that eating the fruit was supposed to evoke. I could take the gentle ribbing from my child, but my sister’s laughter at the prunes (and the connotation that it was something “old” people ate) was too much for me. 

I stopped eating prunes. 

I recently had an appendectomy. Although my surgeon didn’t know why my appendix became inflamed, or why it would happen to someone with a healthy diet, I decided to take steps to keep things “moving”.
I made a commitment to drink more water, exercise more often, and eat prunes again. 

The problem is I couldn’t find prunes in the store. I looked and looked and looked. However, my observant and more detailed-oriented spouse, CB, found the bagged fruit and plopped them in our Costco cart. I looked at the bag. It was labeled “sun sweet plums”.


All those years I was basing my search on the name “prunes” and bags of “plums” did not compute.  

Now, I’m not stupid. I know prunes are dried plums. As a public relations and marketing professional I can understand the name change. Prunes have a bad image. The word “prune” can mean “to make a facial expression exhibiting ill temper or disgust.”  People refer to old people, or other old things, as shriveled up old prunes. Plus people eat prunes when they are constipated. That is funny too (unless it happens to you and then it is a painfully unpleasant experience). 

Plums, on the other hand, have a good reputation. People use the expression “plum” for referring to  something of a superior or desireable kind, such as a financial bonus or "plum" position. Let’s not forget the nursery rhyme about little Jack Horner.

Little Jack Horner
Sat in the corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said 'What a good boy am I!'[1]

Now the poem is supposedly a satire with political overtones, but when I recited that nursery rhyme as a tot, no one explained that to me. All I knew is Jack stuck his grimy thumb in a pie, snagged a plum, and thought he pulled off some sort of heroic feat. Centuries later it left another subliminal message.  Plums are good. Prunes are bad. 

However, I must concede, prunes are funny. I remember back in 1967 I was watching television with my little brother, Terry. A commercial about prunes came on the air. It made us both laugh. It’s worth watching.


But it also made me think. This ad was not only humorous; it was a great marketing campaign. Even as a grade-school-er, I was inspired by it. I thought that if my desire to be a sitcom writer didn’t pan out, I could make my way in society by making fun of fruit and vegetables. Who knew it would turn into a career in public relations and marketing? 

But the story of the prunes took an unexpected turn for me. Rather than having food engineers get rid of the “wrinkles” as they promised in that funny commercial, the marketing folks decided to just change the name.  Shakespeare may have had Juliet say, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." And that may be true. But when you change a bag of prunes to a bag of plums, you might confuse a few folks who are looking for prunes to repair their internal plumbing.

Not one to hold a grudge about the name change, I have decided to poke fun of things with a poem of my own.

My gut was full,
intestines stuck.
I looked for prunes
but no such luck.
The name had changed from prune to plum.
I saw it not, gee I feel dumb.
A lesson learned, I do implore,
“read the labels at the store”.
Both prunes and plums will help you go.
But if not careful you may not know
that a rose by another name might smell as sweet
Or be ignored and spell defeat.


[1] Opie and P. Opie, The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951, 2nd edn., 1997), pp. 234–7.