Archive of ‘New Adventures’ category

MINI Rally to Coolidge, AZ

A few weeks ago, my guy and I joined the local AZ MINI club on a rally to the Coolidge Airport for a “fly-in.” The local Lion’s club cooked breakfast and we walked around and checked out the planes. It was a great morning motoring with other MINI owners and a fascinating up-close look at the aviation hobby that seems to be so popular here in Phoenix.

40×40 List #5: Attend the Sundance Film Festival

Karyn and I added an extra day to our Alt Summit experience and planned a day in Park City, UT to attend the Sundance Film Festival. A few weeks before our trip, I bought tickets to a remake of Wuthering Heights in the ticket lottery, so we were all set to enjoy the festival experience.

On Sunday morning, we hopped into the rented Subaru and headed north. It snowed the night before, so the scenery was beautiful.

Snow-covered mountains, dry roads, and hardly any traffic. It was enough to make me giddy with excitement.

As we were parking just off of Main Street, we spotted Paul Giamatti walking along the road. First celebrity sighting and we weren’t even out of the car yet? This was gonna be good.

We decided to find the main box office to pick up our tickets first. Our film was set to start at 3pm and it was getting close to noon. The line at the box office moved pretty quickly, but I was disappointed when I discovered that our film was moved from a Park City theater to one in Ogden, about 2 hours away from Park City. There was no way we’d make it AND we had just arrived to Park City.

The friendly ticket agent happily exchanged my tickets for a film showing later in the evening back in Salt Lake City (literally around the corner from our hotel) called Hello I Must Be Going. With that sorted, we had the whole day in front of us. It was actually way better that we didn’t have a movie right in the middle of the day. We decided to do some exploring and have some lunch.

On our way to lunch, we popped into a bookstore so that Karyn could pick up a book to read on her flight home. I was up front checking out the journals (Hello, I have a paper addiction!) and behind me I could hear her hissing my name. I walked back to see what the commotion was and, hey look! It’s Paul Giamatti!

As we made our way to a little French bistro for lunch, we spotted Jon Heder from Napoleon Dynamite chatting with a friend, John Krasinski being interviewed on a balcony above Main Street, and Olympian Shaun White taking pictures with fans.

The energy and excitement was palpable and you never knew who you might run into.

After lunch we walked down Main Street doing a little window shopping and browsing the boutiques. Karyn was keen on making some contacts to see if anyone wanted to carry her jewelry and I was keen on more celebrity sightings.

We found the Sundance Channel Headquarters and were presented with a pass to get in.

They had a bar and a coffee shop with a lounge where you could sit and watch the live interviews happening in the studio right next door.

Or you could be lucky like us and have Univision conduct an interview right next to you on the sofa. Fun!

Not long after, I heard a very familiar voice say, “What’s Up!” As I turned towards the entrance, Ice-T  was being whisked to the studio to be interviewed about his directorial debut at Sundance.

We watched some of his interview before it was time to make our way back to SLC for our film.

We made it to the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, tickets in hand, and waited in line to enter the theater.

The holding area was packed with people, but we only had to wait about fifteen minutes before the doors were opened and we were allowed into the theater.

Once everyone was seated and right before the lights went down, the theater director announced that the film director and screenwriter would hold a Q&A session. I was super-psyched!

The film was adorable and quirky. Set in Connecticut, the story follows a happily married thirtysomething woman who is dumped by her husband. She moves home to sort out her life while dodging the advice of her family. At a dinner her parents host for her father’s client, she meets the client’s son and they strike up an unlikely retationship. Hilarity ensues. The audience really loved it. There was a lot of laughter at all the right moments.

After the credits rolled, the director, screenwriters, producer and two of the main actors came on stage and answered questions asked by the audience. It was a cool experience to hear why the writer added a specific scene or why the director chose the music for the soundtrack. It was really fascinating!

As we exited, we were encouraged to cast our ballot for the Audience Award. We voted by tearing the corner that best represented our opinion. Though the film didn’t win any festival awards, I hope it gets picked up by a distributor so more people can enjoy it.

The festival was a great experience and something that I would like to do again. In Park City, there were events happening all day and well into the evening. Talks, screenings, seminars and parties, there was always something happening. I would love to go back and spend a few days in Park City really soaking in the whole festival experience… maybe if I go to Alt Summit again next year I can add a few extra days to the trip now that I know what to expect.

Alt Summit | Saturday Sessions

Saturday at Alt was a really cool day. There were so many things to do. From a photowalk, to a foodie tour, to a thriftshop tour or a trip to the ski slopes in Park City, you could choose a sightseeing adventure or take a day filled with hands-on classes. I chose to take three classes, Bookbinding, Printmaking and Food/Tabletop Photography.

The morning started with a bookbinding class with Alison of Igloo Letterpress. We made three different projects but my favorite was the actual bookbinding where we sewed paper signatures together with waxed linen thread.

The second class, Printmaking with Eva Jorgensen of Sycamore Street Press was really cool and really messy. I only have this one picture of Eva giving us instructions before it was gloves on and paint flowing.

In the afternoon, I was thrilled to take a food photography class with House of Brinson. William and Susan were super amazing. Susan spoke first about styling a shoot and using what you have as props.

Then William went through some of the more technical processes.

Before the light was completely gone, they set up four stations for us to practice on.

Here are some of the pictures that I took.

All the beautiful food inspired me to take more pictures at home after grocery shopping. I want to really expand my portfolio of food images this year. I think these few shots are a good start! I honestly think I learned more in that two hour session than I did in a year’s worth of photography school. Amazing what a little hands-on learning can do!

Just as the class was ending, it started to snow giant, wet flakes on the gorgeous courtyard. I stepped outside to take a few pictures, but the best one that I took was a quick snap with my iPhone through the window:

Classes ended around 5:30 and I headed back to the hotel to hang out with Karyn. We decided to stay in and chill in the room. We watched a few movies and relaxed since the next day was a big day in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival!


Also in this series:
Alt Design Summit: Day 1- Wednesday
Alt Design Summit: Day 2- Thursday
Alt Design Summit: Day 3- Friday

Alt Summit | Friday Sessions

Friday started with a series of roundtable discussions. There were so many to choose from and at least three that I would have been thrilled to take. I ended up selecting “Re-naming Your Brand, Re-inventing Yourself.” Led by Becca Gorski, of Cake, we had a lively discussion of how to rework websites and blogs to better suit our intended audience. I was truly grateful that she provided a handout that I could study later. If Alt is anything, it’s information overload of the best kind.

After the roundtable discussions, we had a 30 minute break to have a snack and network. I discovered that the lounge was transformed by Cottonelle.

The colors were bright and there were exclusive Jonathan Adler toilet tissue covers for us to take home. Too cool!

Maxwell from Apartment Therapy was conducting interviews for Cottonelle that were going to be uploaded to Facebook and voted on by readers. The subject of the winning video wins a chance to interview Jonathan Adler in NYC! Cool!

Up next was a panel on Growing a Readership. The main theme of Alt was reiterated in this session: 1. Original content; 2. Consistency of posts 3. Professional, clean & polished design. The panel was hugely engaging and I took tons of notes. I am hoping to employ some of the tips on my blog and am excited to get the ball rolling!

Lunch was up next. We were excited to hear the keynote speaker, Ben Silberman, the founder of Pinterest. But first, we were served an amazing smokey red pepper soup, chef’s salad, and strawberry shortcake.

Ben was an engaging speaker. He talked about how he quit his dream job to pursue the development of Pinterest. He was funny, self-deprecating, and completely engaging. He also had one of the best PowerPoint presentations I’ve ever seen.

After lunch, I popped by the HP Pavilion to say hello to Anya from Project Runway. They had computers set up where we could create a look for her next collection.

In the afternoon, I took one session called “Building a Personal Brand” where I was introduced to the photography powerhouse, Jasmine Star. Her portion of the presentation was so passionate everyone in the room left feeling like a superhero.

For an afternoon pick-me-up, the Cottonelle lounge had an amazing spread of lovely cupcakes. There were so many amazing flavors and colors to choose from.

After the final session of the day, there was a closing keynote by Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. I was so exhausted (and knew we had a long evening of partying ahead!) that I only stayed for the first fifteen minutes. I headed back to the hotel for an hour of downtime before it was time to get sparkled up and make our way to the third floor for the “Suite Parties.” Holy moly. Each suite was decked out in a specific theme complete with inspired decor and food.

In true Stella fashion, I only have pictures of food and decor, none of people. I definitely need to get better at that.

This lovely table of desserts was courtesy of Wilson Art and HGTV’s Design on a Dime.

They had this amazing 50s vibe going on complete with a photobooth using one of their original ad campaigns. All the ladies hostessing the event had the cutest vintage aprons and throwback hairstyles. It was adorable.

Next up was Blurb and A Subtle Revelry’s suite party. They had a chocolate and wine tasting along with a wall that we could graffiti with whatever we wanted to write or draw.

The Rue La La party had sort of a futuristic theme with cool table centerpieces and amazing ceramic travel coffee cups.


Girls with Glasses and Pinhole Press planned a night in Paris complete with a mini Eiffel Tower, Macarons, and black & white umbrellas. It was tres chic.

The Handmade by You party had an ice cream sundae bar with vanilla and chocolate ice cream along with tons of toppings. They also had a cool “make your own beaded necklace” station.


Each of the parties had amazing food, personalizable photobooths and incredible giveaways. It was shocking that some of the parties were so hyped up that there was a line to get into the suites! Around every corner was a new surprise. There were plenty of adult beverages flowing and great opportunity for chatting up a new friend or blog collaborator. After we circulated, we decided to have a drink and do some people watching in the Grand America lounge. It was a great way to end the night.


Also in this series:
Alt Design Summit: Day 1- Wednesday
Alt Design Summit: Day 2- Thursday

40x 40 List #19: Run a 5K = The Color Run | PHX

Number 19 on my 40×40 list was to run a 5K. I had every intention of doing this and then I broke my ankle. I haven’t quite gotten up to speed with running, but walking is no longer as painful as it was a month ago, so I went ahead and registered for The Color Run. I was drawn to it based on this video:

How fun does that look!? Well this morning was the race and I can tell you it was every bit as fun as the video. You can tell it is the first year that they’ve really expanded the runs to a bunch of cities and there are some kinks to work out (bottlenecking at the color stations, running out of color, no real crowd control or people wranglers) but other than those small glitches, we had a superfab time.

On Thursday, I stopped at Target and bought a whole bunch of colorful stripe-y socks for our team (called Team Double Rainbow!) to wear. Here we are with our cool socks!

A news helicopter flew overhead and the crowd went nuts. Here we are ready to go! One quick team photo before the starting gun:

We were curious what it would be like at each station and a quick 1K walk to the first color point proved quite a site. From a few hundred yards back, we could see puffs of color emerge from the color area.

Everyone seemed to be so excited to get to the first station that there was a bit of a back up. We worked around it (mostly by yelling “WALK!!!” to get the crowd moving) and got sufficiently powdered up in a bright shade of yellow:

As we walked the route, we could see some of the other color stations dousing people in the brightly colored corn starch. Here is the pink station:

Here’s the green station upon approach:

And also, purple:

By the time we got to the finish line, we were looking pretty vibrant!

One of the best parts of the event was crossing the finish line. Each participant received a packet of color and, on a 10-second countdown, tossed the powder in the air to create a giant cloud of color:

We came out of the crowd cloud with lots of extra color on us. It was really a lot of fun to see.

When we decided it was time to go, we stopped by a staging area where a guy with a leaf blower strapped to his back blew all the extra powder off of us so we could drive home without completely ruining our cars.

Team Double Rainbow in full technicolor:

{L to R: Mark Krach, Nicci Lahavich, Summer Peil, Stella Singleton, Eric Myers, Don Burnside, Johnny Sweet, Stephanie Smith, Barbara Stokes}

The Color Run Phoenix supported Cardon Children’s Medical Center
For more information or to find a Color Run in your city, click here.

Thanks to Don Burnside for the use of his pictures.

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