Arizona Living: Hiking

Fall in Arizona means Hiking Season is here! Temperatures are getting cooler and so it’s time to get in as much hiking as we can before it’s too cold! Here’s some our favorite trails. Camelback Mountain: One of the most popular hiking spots, it right in town and has a variety of trails. Hiking to the top can be a challenge but the city views are spectacular. This is one of the busiest trails in Phoenix, so be prepared on weekends. There can be a lot of people there at once. South Mountain: Another great place to see views of the city. This is a large hiking area and has plenty of beginner trails and advanced trails. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. The views of Downtown and the entire valley are spectacular. This is a must visit place at least once a year! Dreamy Draw: At the 51 and Northern is a great place to hike. Still in town, it’s easy to fit in a hike. It’s a nice little spot and has some great trails. It’s tucked away and not as busy as other trails, however it’s one of the most beautiful areas in town. Lookout Mountain: 7th St and Thunderbird has a great hiking area. With easy to moderate hikes it’s a good place to go. It’s a fairly large mountain so there are some longer trails too. Great for pets! A lot of people will hike here every morning, so you get to know your hikers pretty well. It’s

Six Reasons to Use a Realtor

When you think about real estate, you normally think of a big purchase. Something that is important and will be a big decision to make. Having a realtor as a partner in this decision is always a good idea. They will be representing you and getting the best home for your budget, making the decision a little easier. Here’s six reasons to use a Realtor: Financially Focused: having a realtor represent you means you have a representative looking our for your financial interests. Realtors are contractually obligated to do everything in their power to help you. Having the experience and expertise of a Realtor on your side is a no brainer! Regulations: Every home is different and the regulations are always changing. Realtors are continuing their education each year to keep up with all these changes. Finding the Right Home: It’s not all about the square footage and number of bathrooms. Realtors know what to look for in homes, like if it has copper piping or if the electrical panel is properly to code. Information is power and a Realtor can get honest information for you to use. Pricing and Sales: Realtors are experts in knowing what a home is worth and what it will sell at. With the market always changing, they have tools to track these things. This means your home will be priced correctly, according to your area. Contracts and Negotiations: Every real estate deal has a contract that is going to require a good deal of negotiations. Let someone who’s done

AZ Living: Hiking in Phoenix & Glendale

February may mean more cold weather for some but for us here in Arizona, it means Hiking Season is here! Temperatures are getting warmer and so it’s time to get in as much hiking as we can before it gets hot! Here’s our favorite trails. Camelback Mountain: One of the most popular hiking spots, it right in town and has a variety of trails. Hiking to the top can be a challenge but the city views are spectacular. South Mountain: Another great place to see views of the city. This is a large hiking area and has plenty of beginner trails and advanced trails. It’s also a great place to watch the sunset. Dreamy Draw: At the 51 and Northern is a great place to hike. Still in town, it’s easy to fit in a hike. It’s a nice little spot and has some great trails. Lookout Mountain: 7th St and Thunderbird has a great hiking area. With easy to moderate hikes it’s a good place to go. It’s a fairly large mountain so there are some longer trails too. Great for pets! Thunderbird Park: Another favorite spot, this has nice long but moderate trails. There’s not a lot of west valley hiking spots in town so this one is a popular one. White Tank Mountains: For an out-of-town feeling, this is a fun place to hike. Just out of town in the west valley there are plenty of easy trails and very difficult ones.

AZ Living – Wildflowers

The end of March means wildflower season in Arizona and around the southwest. Here’s our picks for the best places to see the wildflowers in bloom. South Mountain: with plenty of space and trails for all activity levels, you can see plenty of wildflowers. Dreamy Draw: the washes and hillsides are full of wildflower blooms right now. Located at the 51 and Northern, it’s easily accessible. Piestewa Peak: located from the 51 and Glendale to Tatum and Shea, this is a large area. Trails and hiking paths on the north side of the mountain will have all varieties of wildflowers blooming. The Desert Botanical Garden has a Wildflower Infosite where you can get all the information on places and varieties of wildflowers. If you haven’t visited the Desert Botanical Garden, you must, it’s a beautiful garden. It features all of Arizona’s unique varieties of plants and is a great place to take visitors.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Westbrook Village

Westbrook Village is a community located in Peoria, Arizona. For seniors, this is a perfect adult community due to the amenities and location. This community is close to the Arrowhead area and mall. Inside the community, there are more amenities than you could imagine. Starting with two, 18 hole, semi-private golf courses. It has a Pro Shop and restaurant on site! There is also a Community Center with tennis courts, lap pool, ballrooms, and recreation center. You can participate in ceramics, sewing, and stained glass in their craft rooms. If you want to relax and take a walk, you can visit the Reflection Garden too! It’s a beautiful space. For a night out the community has it’s own restaurants, Sunset Bistro and Links Neighborhood Grill. Both have great food and they’re a great place to meet friends!

Local Neighborhoods: Stetson Valley

Steson Valley and the surrounding area is located on Happy Valley Rd, between 67th Ave and 19th Ave. This includes many communities like Norterra, Stetson Hills, and Stetson Valley. What makes this area popular is that it’s outside of the city and spotted with mountains. The natural desert areas provide outdoor activities and a beautiful backdrop. Shopping and entertainment has exploded in this area with the Shops at Norterra and others. There is also a great community and churches. Shops at Norterra: this is the best shopping in the area and has everything you could need. Plenty of restaurants and a theater too! South of the shops is more shopping including big box retailers, home improvement stores and more restaurants! Deem Hills Recreation Area: Right in the middle of this community is a great outdoor area with trails. Hiking is a great way to get outside in the Spring and Winter and this recreation area has well marked and maintained trails. There is also playgrounds, basketball courts, soccer fields, and places to BBQ. Great Schools: This area also has great Elementary and High Schools. Stetson Hills Elementary and Sandra Day O’Connor High School are both well preforming in the state. Stetson Hills Elementary is an Excelling School for six years in a row. Sandra Day O’Connor is rated an A grade by the school board and has significantly improved their numbers in the last three years. Religious Centers: There are numerous churches in the area and all are growing. On the West side of the

AZ Activity: Restaurant Week

Starting on the 19th and going  through to the 28th, is Arizona Restaurant Week. This is one week happens twice a year, where participating restaurants in Phoenix offer a 3-5 course dinner for $33 or $43 per person. It’s a great time to try a nice restaurant and not spend a fortune! To take part in this week all you have to do is visit their website and view the list of participating restaurants. Then choose a restaurant that you like and take a look at their menu. Each restaurant offers a select menu for the week that has limited options. Make a reservation and you’re done! No coupons, tickets or anything special is required. Each time Restaurant Week comes by we choose a special place to visit. This year we’re going to try Sumo Maya in Scottsdale. A blog will be coming soon about our experience. Let us know where you’re eating for Arizona Restaurant Week! Share it with us on Facebook.  

Restaurant Recommendation: Chelsea’s Kitchen

Every month we pick a local Arizona restaurant to review and this is a place we’ve never been before. Located on 40th St and Camelback, it’s in the heart of the Arcadia district. This area has so many restaurants to choose from, a friend recommended that we try Chelsea’s Kitchen so we did. The atmosphere is nice, it’s relaxed and modern, with a California vibe. One really cool thing is the kitchen is right out in the front of the restaurant and you can see everything going on in the kitchen. We watched them work while we waited for our table. Once seated the service was great, attentive but not overly so. He gave us his recommendations and let us know the special. Everything on the menu looked great! There was something for everyone. For an appetizer, we had the deviled eggs and they were so good. The yolk mixture was full of flavor and perfectly whipped. We also had the shrimp ceviche, which is now one of our favorite dishes. The entrees came out in a timely fashion and the restaurant was busy. We had the prime rib and surf & turf tacos. Both were fantastic, the meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The surf & turf made for some of the best tacos in Phoenix. All the proportions and flavors were nicely balanced too. As far as ambiance goes, this place has plenty! We sat inside, which is beautifully lit and decorated. Peaking to the patio, there was lights strung and it was

Your Credit Score May Have Gone Up!

Would it not be great to see your credit score go up 25 points in one day. We’ll some people may be seeing this happen, now that FICO is changing it’s evaluation model. If you have medical debt that is settled or insurance is covering the costs but it shows up on your credit score, this debt will be weighted less. The negative effects on your credit will be minimized and can cause your score to rise up to 25 points. Even overdue medical bills will have less of an impact on your score, which is great news for 64 million Americans. When will you see these changes? This fall but it may take up to a year for your credit score to fully see the impact of these changes. This can be positive for people trying to get home loans and actually end up getting them a better deal than before. It’s not often that we get this kind of good financial news but it’s great to hear!