Category: Life at Home in Metro Phoenix

Pool time is here. What better time to step up your pool pump maintenance than now?

Your pool pump is the star player in your swimming pool’s plumbing system. It pumps thousands of gallons of water in a week’s time. To keep it at the top of its game, take time to regularly tackle the following:

Clean out the pump and the surrounding area. Sweep out the area around the pump at least once a week, and dust off the pump itself, paying special attention to the vents for the cooling fans.

Clean out the filter. This will help the water flow freely, reducing wear and tear on the motor.

Don’t lubricate the motor. Modern pool pumps are sealed to prevent corrosion. Spraying the pump with lubricant will only damage the rubber seals and catch dirt and debris.

Check for leaks and torn seals once your pump is spick and span. If any of the seals are damaged, replace them immediately before the pump is turned back on.

Check the pressure gauge as part of your weekly maintenance. Your owner’s manual will tell you the suggested pressure level. If the pressure is about 10 psi above the guideline, it’s time to backwash or to clean out the filters, depending on your system. Letting the pressure run too high can damage the pipes and the motor.

Listen for abnormalities. If your pump is louder than normal or making a high-pitched whine, some of the parts likely have become worn or cracked.

If you keep up with your pool pump maintenance, you can greatly extend the lifespan of your pump. A smoothly running pump will use less electricity and keep your swimming pool crystal clear.

Steve Higgins, our VP of Field Operations, discusses pool care with CBS 5 just in time for the summer season.

This segment touches on topics like:

  • How Phoenix’s extreme heat summer heat taxes your pool and impacts chemical performance
  • The importance of staying on top of cleaning and debris removal, especially during monsoon season
  • The negative impacts of older pool pumps — uses more electricity, can cause leaks and tax pipes and filters
  • Why investing in a newer pump that runs at a lower speed (typically about $500-800) is a worthwhile investment to consider

If you’re thinking about upgrading your pool pump, be sure to reach out! We’d love to help you explore your options and get the best value for your needs. Contact us here or call 602.733.5000.

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

In a perfect world, we’d make most of our meals from scratch. It’s hard to beat the goodness of home cooking – creating a wholesome meal at home and gathering around the family table. But let’s be real here, we live busy, on-the-go lives, and home cooking isn’t a 24/7 reality. Given that, we’re always on the lookout for casual cafes that are great for a quick bite or to-go pickup. And, we love it when we get to support fellow Phoenix-based companies. Original ChopShop Co. is a great local spot that caters to our longings. With three Valley locations – Scottsdale, Tempe and Chandler – Original ChopShop Co. aims to serve up good food for healthy, happy people. They’re big on using natural, whole, delicious ingredients sourcing local and organic products whenever possible. chopshop The menu is filled with fresh salads, sandwiches, wraps, juices, protein shakes and more. We find the protein bowls especially nice when we’re craving something warm and substantial. They have solid breakfast options too, like an egg hash, breakfast burrito, parfaits and superfruit bowls. The cafe is good for those who like to mix, match, make it their own. If you’re craving a mix of sweet potato and quinoa in that protein bowl or want to swap the sauce, you’re encouraged to order it that way. If you want to transform a salad option into a wrap or vice versa, you can do that too. Whatever the hour of the day, if home cooking isn’t happening and you’re needing a casual bite, Original ChopShop Co. is worth checking out.  

Visit Original ChopShop Co.

Scottsdale: Old Town – 
7158 E. 5th Ave. • 
Scottsdale, AZ 85251 • 
(480) 794-1536

Tempe: University – 
222 E. University Dr.
 • Tempe, AZ 85281 • 
(480) 307-9336

Chandler: Downtown
 – 35 W. Boston St.
 • Chandler, AZ 85225
 • (480) 426-0216

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

Okay, let’s be clear from the get-go. We aren’t the best museum goers. We’re those people staring at the art on the white wall internally saying, “Um… What am I missing? I don’t get it…” It’s not that we don’t appreciate art at all. It’s just that standing in a museum, viewing some contemporary artwork, we might not have the most eloquent observations to share. And, our legs and attention spans grow fatigued far too quickly.

Given that, we didn’t know what to expect of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). But, we were willing to give it a go, especially given the fact that we scored free admission via an Act One Culture Pass. (Sidenote: At many Metro Phoenix libraries, library cardholders can check out Culture Passes, which offer free admission or tickets to participating arts and cultural institutions around the Valley. More reasons to love your local library.)

It turns out, SMoCA was a great museum for our crowd. It’s small, and we like that. You can get just the right dose of contemporary art, architecture and design without feeling overwhelmed or fatigued. On our recent visit, we enjoyed the curation and thoughtful presentation of the exhibitions. Each of the galleries had something different to offer from a set of dramatic video installations to vibrant kinetic sculptures and paintings to sound art.

Though we may still have a ways to go elevating our cultural sensibilities, we certainly walked away having awakened our senses. If you’re interested in a dose of inspiration to kindle your own creativity, a visit to SMoCA might be right for you. Standard admission (without the awesome Culture Pass) will only set you back $7/adult and $5/student, and Thursday admission is free along with Friday and Saturday after 5 p.m.

Visit SMoCA – 7380 East Second Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 • (480) 874-4666

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

We hope you like to eat as much as we do. Food seems to be a theme around these parts. Is it just us, or does the local food scene here in the Valley just keep getting better and better?

This month we’re giving a hat tip to one of our favorite restaurants of all — True Food Kitchen. The concept, created by Fox Restaurant Concepts, features a menu based on the anti-inflammatory diet, guided by some of the wisdom of Dr. Andrew Weil. What on earth does that even mean? Well, science is increasingly pointing to inflammation as a factor in many serious diseases. The anti-inflammatory diet, therefore, focuses on consumption of foods that help counteract chronic inflammation. That translates to lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains and fish with minimal amounts of other animal products and processed foods.

True Food’s wholesome menu shifts with the seasons, features responsibly-sourced ingredients and includes dishes that meet the needs of all types of eaters and specialty diets. Some of our top picks include the autumn ingredient salad and turkey burger. The herb hummus and kale salad are ridiculously good too. And, if those don’t strike your fancy, we hear the grass-fed bison burger, and moroccan chicken are all big hits. True Food also boasts a list of intriguing refreshments — fresh juices and elixirs, organic spirits, sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines, and local beers.

You may be celebrating — feeling like this restaurant is totally up your alley. Or, you may be running for the hills — guessing this health-conscious approach cannot make for a tasty menu. Whichever camp you find yourself in, we encourage you to give True Food a shot, whether it be at the Scottsdale or Phoenix location. The concept is now gaining traction in other cities across the country like Santa Monica, Atlanta, Denver and Dallas. We tend to think it’s pretty awesome that Phoenix is its original birthplace!

Visit True Food Kitchen

at Scottsdale Quarter – 15191 N. Scottsdale Road #101 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254 • 480.265.4500

at Biltmore Fashion Park – 2502 E. Camelback Road, Suite 135 • Phoenix, AZ 85016 • 602.774.3488

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

One of our absolute favorite spots in Phoenix is finally open for a new season. We’ve waited months for Singh Farms to reopen for the fall season and are elated that the farm’s Saturday morning markets are back in session.

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Singh Farms is a magical spot in the middle of the desert. Tucked just off Loop 101 at Thomas, you have no idea it’s even there, which explains how it evaded our knowledge for so long. Once you walk onto the property, it feels as though you’ve magically entered another world.

The Saturday morning markets are bustling. There you can fill your bag with the latest freshly picked items. Be they bunches of beets, chard, herbs or much more, you can actually see the produce being grown and picked right there on the property. If you are a lucky early bird, you may even be able to snatch up some farm fresh eggs to carry home. Singh Farms also invites in a couple local vendors to sell freshly baked breads and pastries and local goat cheese products. There’s even a stand for lovely floral bouquets made on the spot.

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While you’re there, you can grab a fresh juice, enjoy some breakfast pastries or try out the wood fired pizzas and other eats. For the yogis, there’s a spot nestled under a group of trees for a 10am all-levels yoga class. For those with a green thumb, there is a separate garden market area at the back of the property with plants, seeds, compost and more for your own home garden.

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If you do make it out there, be sure to give yourself ample time to stroll through the garden paths and explore the property. If you’re anything like us, you’ll find yourself enjoying the chance to linger among the beautiful surroundings.
Visit Singh Farms — 8900 E. Thomas Rd. Scottsdale, AZ

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

It’s hard to imagine a world without music. Quite frankly, if there was such a place, we wouldn’t want to live in it. What would the tough days be like without bluesy ballads to remind us we’re not alone or catchy pop favorites to bring a smile to our faces?

Our love of music made the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) a worthy destination. This five-year-old Valley museum is touted as “the world’s only global instrument museum.” With 6,000 instruments on display from about 200 countries/territories around the world, there’s much to explore.

The museum itself is divided into several major sections including: an artist gallery, showcasing a handful of famous musicians and their one-of-a-kind instruments; an experience gallery, giving folks hands-on interactions with instruments; and a geographical gallery, offering a tour of instruments, both ancient and modern, from around the world.

The experience is quite interactive, capitalizing on audio and video to help tell the story. Individual audio headsets are included with admission to give you the chance to hear what the instruments on display sound like. (Good move, MIM. Can you imagine a roomful of visitors and chaotic noise?)A few hours at the MIM remind you — styles do differ dramatically around the globe, but music has a big presence across cultures. We left a bit in awe of the influence music has throughout such a diversity of times and places.

Beyond the museum and collection itself, the MIM also contains a world-class concert hall that hosts performers from around the world. We recently had the chance to enjoy a piano performance in the intimate venue and learned that there (a) wasn’t a bad seat in the house and (b) acoustics are, of course, impressive and taken very seriously in the concert hall.

Next time you’re looking for a weekend activity or chance to catch some inspiring live music, consider paying the MIM a visit.

Visit

MIM 

4725 E. Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85050 • 480.478.6000

[Photo Credit: MIM Website]

Take the comfortable, down-to-earth vibe of an inviting home and a dash of hip local scene and you have Phoenix Public Market Cafe. This gem lies in the heart of Phoenix on Central Avenue.

It’s an appealing spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, drinks… you name it. The cafe’s homestyle cooking features quality ingredients sourced from the local community. With hearty favorites like rotisserie chicken to intriguing dishes like the roasted cauliflower plate, Phoenix Public Market Cafe manages to cater to a variety of needs in a way that appears natural and almost effortless. The menu is clearly marked to suit all dietary preferences with dishes to delight all parties among us — be they meat-lovers, vegans or gluten-free folks.

Once you visit, the tasty food and charming personality of this cafe will have you back again and again. Or, perhaps it’s that ridiculously-alluring bakery case that’s responsible. Once glance at those treats, and it’s hard to stay away.

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On a recent visit, we thoroughly enjoyed their comfortable patio, tucked behind the restaurant with a captivating view of downtown. The magical quality of the engaging environment left us quickly forgetting it was the middle of the intense summer in Phoenix. And, we found ourselves impressed by the cafe’s ability to do the simple things quite well. An unassuming side of black beans brought immediate delight to our tastebuds. (We’re still not sure what it was about that preparation that was so darn good. Just do yourself a favor and get some when you go.)

If you’re familiar with St. Francis restaurant on Camelback, it might be worth noting — the cafe is created by the same team. And, Phoenix Public Market’s lot is also the site of an Open Air Farmer’s Market (Saturday mornings and Thursday nights) and Food Truck Friday. Whether you live near downtown or are looking for an outing beyond your neighborhood, we recommend giving Phoenix Public Market Cafe a visit.

This post is part of our At Home In Metro Phoenix series. Each month, we explore local businesses, attractions, events and people that call our wonderful community home.

If you mentioned the word “summertime” to a group of people and captured the images in their minds, you might come across a good handful of idealized outdoor scenes — walking along the beach, skipping through open fields, shooting hoops in the driveway.

We’re big fans of the outdoors. But, I’d wager we’re not the only ones looking for a few more activities that involve a break from the outdoor heat. And, if we could simultaneously find activities didn’t break the bank? Well, that’d just be the perfect recipe for a lovely late August day.

That beautiful combination came to life for us in a recent trip to Scottsdale Civic Center Library. True, it’s not the sexiest local find. It’s been around since the 60’s, so it’s far from new. But, seeing that this local library has to much explore, it’s a shame to overlook it just because it lacks the new luster of trendier local spots.

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The library equates to an endless number of books, movies, and cd’s right at your fingertips. And, unlike accessing those things through say Amazon.com, at the library, they are free. (And, if you were a fan of our recent post about The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, you’ll find the library also can save you from acquiring things that you simply don’t need to own).

Maybe this one speaks most to the nerdy bookworms among us. But, keep in mind, there’s something to be found for the chef, music fanatic and movie watcher too. That cookbook you’ve been wanting to spend some time with? It’s yours for three weeks. That album you’ve been dying to listen to? Pop it in your car, enjoy it for a few weeks and return it before you get to that point at which it grows stale.

And a not-so-insider, yet helpful tip you need to know — just because the branch nearest you doesn’t have the book you’ve been trying to track down or that movie you’ve been waiting to see, doesn’t mean all is lost. Within the same library system (for example, the Scottsdale Public Library) you can request items and have them transferred to the branch nearest to you free of charge.

Consider this a dose of encouragement to visit your local branch — whatever the area of town in which you reside. The Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Glendale and Peoria libraries all have something to offer. Just don’t be delinquent returning items. We take no responsibility for your late fees 😉

This post is part of our Life at Home series. Each month, we explore different thinking, techniques or tools related to the concept of a home and what it means to live well in ours.

It’s safe to say — we’ve all felt it. You are at home with the ones you love, eating dinner in what could be characterized as quite a picturesque moment. But, you aren’t really there. Physically your body sinks into the chair, and your mouth devours each fork-full of food. But, when it comes to your mind, you’re anywhere but there.

The momentary daydreaming or lost-in-thought moments are fine — healthy, even. But, we’re talking about that other sort of not being present. It leaves a little twinge of emptiness in your soul. The last place you want to feel that is at home — the very place that should be filled with rest, peace and stability.

Those “not present” moments are bound to come. We know of no one living a perfect life totally free from them. That being said, we’ve found firsthand it’s possible to lessen their occurrence and influence on our lives.

It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but getting away from your home can help you be more present there. What do we mean? Sometimes you need a shift in perspective that’s best prompted by a change of scenery. Engaging elsewhere can allow you to return refreshed. Whether it’s a yoga class, neighborhood walk or full vacation, choose something outside of your home that gives your mind space to be calm.

Then, commit to be more mindful in your home upon your return. Perhaps, let yourself mull over a question or two. What aspects of your home do you like, yet easily overlook? What aromas do you sense, and how do they affect you? What do your feet feel like against the tile floor or carpet? What sort of expression is on your daughter’s face? Without placing judgement on yourself, aim to be just a bit more mindful, and see what unfolds.

Getting away won’t morph the every bit of your life at home into some hyper present state, but it truly can help you be a bit more present. Give it a whirl, and let us know how it goes. And, while you’re at it, we’d love to hear — what other ways have you found to be more present at home?