Light Up Your Home to Light Up Your Life

Click to read more about Barbara.

By Barbara Kaplan –

“What to do about lighting?” is the question every client asks me. They want to know: “Do I buy lamps, install track lighting, have recessed cans put in the ceiling, use up-lights, indirect lights or cable lights? What’s the difference between halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs and now LED?”

Lighting, magically, makes everything in a room come alive, so it’s important to place lights strategically. Proper lighting makes the difference! Because all color is affected by light, the kind of lighting, will make a huge difference in the feel of your rooms. Lighting affects mood and brings style and personality to any environment. You can have tranquility or excitement with a flick of a switch.

There is no one answer. Decide on the effect you want to create in your home. Builders understand the importance of lighting and provide recessed canned lights, flush with the ceiling; however, they don’t provide very many. Add more cans in strategic areas where lighting is beneficial and to create the effect you want to achieve.

Bulbs: LED is replacing incandescent and halogen. Incandescent bulbs give off a yellow light. Halogen bulbs throw off a white light. The new LED lighting now comes in a variety light that resembles these traditional bulbs. They have to be chosen carefully for the affect you want to achieve. “Lumen” is a measurement of the light output. The color temperature of the light source is measured in Kelvins. White light doesn’t change the true color of fabrics, wall coverings and flooring. Yellow light adds warmth. It is very important to question the differences based on your preference. Lenses can also be changed to control the spread of the light.

LED is now widely used for chandeliers and pendant fixtures. The decorative covering will change the lighting color based on its design and color.

Switches: I’m a great believer in using as many as possible and practical — it’s a great way to save money in the long run. Particularly if you have installed several ceiling lights over different areas in the room. Switching lights individually gives versatility and is energy efficient. The more you separate the lights and give them their own switches, the greater the choice you have in putting light where it is needed or wanted.

Lighting can be glaring so you might want to include dimmer switches. They control the amount of light you want in a room and often add a wonderful mood.

Lamps: When choosing a lamp, consider design, size and proportion, as well as color and material. Shades come in many colors and with trims such as beads or glass. Ask yourself: Is the lamp making a fashion statement or is it an art object? Of course, whatever you choose has to accent the style of the room.

Up-lights: Up-lights on timers can be used to highlight plants and artwork. The drama of up-lights is also a surprise feature. Because people don’t customarily expect lighting on the floor, it adds a new dimension to the room. It also creates designs on your ceiling. I have up-lights on timers in every room of my home, so I always have subtle illumination until bedtime.

Create lighting for your lifestyle and to highlight the beauty in your home.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do! So light up your life!

Barbara Kaplan, IFDA, Allied ASID is a Phoenix-based interior design consultant, specializing in designed environments to create healing energy while living beautifully.

Photo by tanakawho on / CC BY-NC

Male Call: Five Strikes and Yer Out!


Click to read more about James Roberts.

 By James Roberts –

The woman, about 60 I’d say, had quite a tale of tribulation that you may find instructive. (Warning: names and locations have been adjusted for purposes of privacy.)

The husband, let’s call him Simon, is a psychiatrist. The woman, let’s call her Simone, had a well-paying job. They’re not millionaires but quite well to do…as you’ll see.

It seems that Simon went through these five-year spin cycles, almost to the month. After five years of marriage, they had their first child, a boy. After 10 years, a girl. Five years later he announced that he was joining a men’s group for meditation and getaways from society. They would gather in a sweat lodge, chew peyote (she wasn’t entirely clear what drug but since she wasn’t invited and it was a sweat lodge thing, presumably it wasn’t just marijuana) and…do whatever they do.

After a couple of these getaways he announced that he’d had a “spirit vision,” which also gave him a new name: “Speaking Falcon.” Her kids thought this was a bit odd since Simon hardly ever spoke, except to use typical psychiatrist phrases like, “So, how did that make you feel?” Simon declared that not only she, but the kids would henceforth use his new spirit name. She put her foot down: Okay in the bedroom “but I’m not going to inflict that on the kids and I’m not doing it in public with our friends.”

Five years later he’s at a professional conference in Lake Tahoe, which would last through Sunday. Would she like to bring the kids and join him then for a couple days of vacay? She would! Except he wanted them to actually drive up on the Friday…and bring their special joint checkbook. He had a surprise for her! Now, their marital deal was that either of them could buy stuff on their own whim as long as it was under $500. The big-ticket joint checkbook required both of them to co-sign. She figured, “What the heck” and did as asked. Arriving in Tahoe she discovered that the big surprise was a new car…for him. An Audi S4. He had seen one of his conference-mates with one and wanted one for himself. She agreed, not enthusiastically, but, after all, they had the money.

Five years later, his men’s group is off to meditate and study astrology at a vortex. When he returns, he announces that he is no longer “Speaking Falcon.” Whew! She thinks. Glad that’s over.

Except now he’s “Saffron Warrior.”

Ready for more?

Five years later he declares that he’d like to learn how to play piano. Great…how much harm can that be? Except he wants to buy the piano before taking the lessons. Hmm, OK, I guess he needs something to learn on. Maybe a nice Yamaha keyboard. She figures they can pick one up for $500-800 and if it doesn’t work out, well, they can put it on eBay or just give it away.

Nope. It’s got to be a grand piano. Not a “baby grand,” mind you (which my saintly departed mother played every day for 60 years, and which I was privileged to use for two years until my piano teacher fired me). The piano set them back $15,000…but they had the money. Six months later, when the lessons stopped, they were able to get $13K for it.

Five years later he announces that he’d like to travel to Nepal for about three months to further his spiritual development…with his <ahem> guru. Would she be kind enough to co-sign for the $50,000 it would cost?

Had enough? Well, so did she. She flatly refuses. He can go if he wants but she’s not helping him finance the trip…with the guru or otherwise. He pouts and stomps around for about a month and then, happily, seems to have put that dream aside.

Except…she notices his practice is losing money, month after month. It’s not like they can’t afford things, but it’s so odd that all of a sudden, the thriving medical business is going downhill, little by little.

Enough already. She hires a forensic accountant (whatever that is) who manages to find the proverbial back door to Simon’s computer. There seem to be a lot of unexplained transfers here and there, including one for $12,000. A few days later she visits him in his study and says she’d like to explore her astrological sign and she know he has some info stored about her “astrological nadir” (whatever that is) on his system. He agrees readily and opens up the file. Ooops…the kettle’s boiling downstairs for their tea! Would he mind taking care of the tea while she explores the birth sign material? He goes and gets the tea and returns to find a very stern and unhappy wife. (Of course, the tea kettle was a setup and she had already poked around on the computer days before; now she’s ready to confront.)

Would he like to explain what the $12K is doing in a secret account? He would not.

But she knew. He had been siphoning off his income all the while when she wouldn’t pony up the 50 G’s.

He asks for a divorce. She says, “OK, go ahead.” He gets them a high-power corporate lawyer he knows to split things up — but even this lawyer thinks things are fishy, despite the fact that he’s Simon’s friend. So, while Simon is on a bathroom break, the lawyer takes her aside privately and suggests the name of what Simone learns is called a “junkyard dog.” The “jd” is too busy to take her on…until she mentions the name of the corporate lawyer. Then, it’s game on.

Frankly, I’ve lost track of the strike count here, but let’s call it five.

Which one would’ve broken you? The spirit vision names? The pointless piano? The vanity car? The guru? Or does it take actual money shenanigans?

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at For more words, ideas and whimsy, visit

Photo by mark6mauno on / CC BY

Christmas in Carefree Ushers in Holiday Season

The Carefree Desert Gardens illuminated for visitors to the Christmas in Carefree celebrations. Photo: Herbert Hitchon

Christmas in Carefree returns to the Carefree Desert Gardens, with holiday-themed events and special celebrations designed to welcome the spirit of the season.

This year’s official Holiday Tree Lighting will take place Friday, Dec. 6, at 5pm in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion and at the iconic Carefree Sundial. The giant 25-foot Christmas tree and the Gardens will be illuminated for the first time during the holiday season with thousands of twinkling lights sparkling throughout the desert landscape. The ceremony will include a performance by various Cave Creek Unified School District student choirs, and Santa himself will handle the tree lighting duties. Following the tree lighting, a special screening of the popular holiday film Elf will be held in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Free hot chocolate and holiday treats will be available, along with snacks for purchase, and a holiday gift will be distributed to each child/family in attendance.

Santa makes another appearance in town Breakfast with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9am to 11am, in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Held in conjunction with Rural Metro Fire’s Holiday Toy Drive, attendees may bring a new toy, canned good or suggested donation of $5 per person for admission, with proceeds benefiting Foothills Food Bank. Enjoy free photos with Santa and a performance of Sing! Sleigh Bells Ring!, a holiday celebration in song featuring talented area youth.

The Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion will resonate with an evening of classic Christmas tunes, harmonies and holly-jolly jazz favorites when area favorites Vicki McDermitt and Chirp, featuring Jerry Donato, take the stage Saturday, Dec. 7, at 6pm. Presented in partnership with Spirit in the Desert and Music Serving the Word Ministries, the evening’s entertainment will be preceded with a performance of holiday favorites from the Cactus Shadows High School Jazz Band, directed by Kevin Brady. Music Serving the Word will be accepting non-perishable food donations, benefiting Foothills Food Bank. This concert is open to the public, and free to attend.

Rounding out the weekend, Pinnacle Creative Arts presents Hope for the Holidays — A WWII Christmas, Sunday, Dec. 8, at 2:30pm in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Step back in time to Christmas Eve 1944 and experience a serviceman’s holiday celebration. Tickets are $15, and available online at as well as at the door.

Congregants from Temple Chai, as well as members of the Jewish Social Group of Cave Creek and Carefree, will host the annual Chanukah in Carefree Menorah Lighting every evening at 5:30pm, beginning Sunday, Dec. 22, through Sunday, Dec. 29, in the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion. Local groups and families will be invited to light the menorah each evening, with a special ceremony Sunday, Dec. 22, that will include the Temple Chai cantor and choir. Each evening’s service is open to attendees of all denominations and faiths.

For more information about these events, visit or call 480.488.3686.

Work Off Thanksgiving Dinner the Day After — Mountainside Fitness members’ guests work out for free Thanksgiving weekend

Arizona’s largest locally owned fitness center, Mountainside Fitness has 17 locations across the Valley including Chandler, Desert Ridge, Mesa, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe and Surprise, with three additional Valley locations scheduled to open in 2020.

Mountainside Fitness says that it aims to help each one of their customers reach their fitness goals by offering a wide range of amenities. Each location has top-of-the-line equipment, state-of-the-art childcare, full-service locker rooms and free towel service.

There are also more than 80 group fitness classes to attend like Zumba, High Fitness, cycling with a live DJ, Flow Yoga, Step, H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) and many more.

“We are offering four days of free workouts to our members’ guests as a way to say thank you and share good health with everyone this holiday season. As a family friendly business, we want to encourage our members to bring their holiday visitors or friends this Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy for free all the classes and high-end amenities that Mountainside Fitness has to offer,” said Tom Hatten, CEO and founder of Mountainside Fitness.

For specials and more information on locations, visit

Thanksgiving Do’s and Don’ts from Emergency Physicians

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) urges everyone to be safe this holiday season. A few safety tips will go a long way toward making sure your holiday is safe and fun.

“Preparation, organization and common sense are the most important ingredients in the recipe for a safe and fun Thanksgiving,” said William Jaquis, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Do your part to make sure you can spend the holiday with friends and loved ones instead of the emergency department. But rest assured that an emergency physician will be there for you anytime an emergency occurs, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even on holidays.”

Practice safe cooking techniques. Watch temperature levels, read instructions, make sure ovens are functioning properly. Unsafe handling or undercooking food can lead to illness, such as salmonella. Thaw turkey properly before cooking at a minimum of 325 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid health issues. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discourages thawing turkey by leaving it on the countertop, which can cause bacteria growth. If thawing by leaving the turkey in the refrigerator, allow 24 hours for every five pounds of weight. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that leftovers are good for three to four days, if refrigerated. Make sure you wash your hands, cook on a clean surface and avoid cross-contamination with raw meats or other food that requires safe handling.

Supervise children in the kitchen. Accidents happen when kids can grab sharp knives or touch hot pots on the stove. Every day, 300 children are treated in emergency departments for burn-related injuries, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. Burns and scalds remain the number one cause of unintentional injury in children ages 0-5.

Don’t leave food cooking unattended, home fires often start in the kitchen. Take your time to avoid slips or falls and reduce the number of safety hazards in crowded areas. Don’t leave candles burning if you are not in the room and don’t light candles near open windows.

Celebrate responsibly. Enjoy the festivities in moderation. Overeating can cause stomach issues or more serious health problems for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes. If alcohol is being served, please do not drink and drive. Thanksgiving is one of the heaviest traffic days of the year. If weather is bad, allow plenty of travel time. Make sure your vehicle has an up-to-date safety kit. And, try to stay calm.

More information about holiday safety is available at

Photo by Photos & Food Blog on / CC BY-NC-SA

The Salvation Army Invites Community to its Annual Thanksgiving Dinner

The Salvation Army will serve a free traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings at the Phoenix Convention Center’s South Building, on the southeast corner of Third Street and Washington Street, Thursday, Nov. 28.

Posted signage and volunteers will be on hand to direct guests to the event location and entrance.

The doors to the event will open at 9am and feature live music, free haircuts and nail service, hygiene kits, coloring for the kids, a big screen TV for watching the parade and football and counseling.

Meal service will be from 11:30am to 1pm.

“We are honored and blessed to provide this festive holiday event each year,” said Major David Yardley, The Salvation Army Metro Phoenix program director. “This is a free event that is open to the public, so we invite one and all to join us for food, fellowship and fun.”

Approximately 1,850 pounds of turkey, 125 gallons of gravy, 1,600 pounds of potatoes and 4,700 slices of pie will be prepared by Aventura Catering, with the help of hundreds of Salvation Army volunteers.

Around 1,000 people are expected to attend, and around 3,800 additional meals will be delivered to homebound individuals and Salvation Army Corps Community Centers across the Valley to serve their local communities.

“We give thanks to our valued community partners, volunteers, officers, staff and the City of Phoenix, whose generosity makes this event possible,” added Yardley. “It’s a testament to how our community comes together to help our neighbors in need.”

THE AERONAUTS Immersive Fan Experience Comes to Phoenix Nov. 30

Valley residents are invited to join Amazon Prime Video Saturday, Nov. 30, for The Aeronauts’ Incredible Journey.

Prime Video is bringing its immersive fan experience inspired by The Aeronauts film, starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, to Phoenix’s Steele Indian School Park from noon to 8pm Nov. 30. Families, schemers, dreamers and altitude enthusiasts of all ages will be thrilled by a sprawling Victorian fair, period performers and bites and a replica of the “Mammoth” balloon (as featured in the film). Guests will also enjoy a screening of the film at 5:30pm on the world’s first Fly-In Theatre: a breathtaking 20-foot LED screen wrapped 360 degrees around a second hot air balloon.

Steele Indian School Park is located at 300 East Indian School Road in Phoenix. Additional event details can be found at


DAC Presents ‘Raptors in Your Backyard — Up Close’

Area residents have probably seen hawks circling overhead and heard the owls hooting in the evening and early morning, but they may not have a grasp of the true superpowers these birds exhibit.  At the next Desert Awareness Committee (DAC) seminar, guests will not only see them up close, but will be more aware of the struggles they face and how, as a local resident, to help.

Wild at Heart is a raptor conservation organization located in Cave Creek that rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild raptors. Join Jack Holloway Monday, Dec. 2, at the Holland Community Center, 34250 North 60th Street in Scottsdale, for this free seminar sponsored by the Desert Awareness Committee of the Foothills Community Foundation.  The seminar will be held 6:30-8pm. Registration is not necessary; a $5 donation is suggested for each seminar.

For additional information, visit

Photo by c.miles on / CC BY-NC-SA

Inaugural Black Mountain Round-Up To Be Held Nov. 23 in Cave Creek

Valley residents are invited to dust off their boots and spurs and join 3,000 plus family and friends to see and support Cave Creek’s first Black Mountain Round-Up, scheduled for Nov. 23, at 7pm, at the Cave Creek Memorial Arena. Dan Baker’s Rodeo Productions and stock contractor Cody Reeser put together the toughest bulls and broncs in the Southwest for a Saturday night performance of the five fan favorite events in rodeo: bareback riding, ranch bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding.

According to organizers, this family event is dedicated to first responders, veterans, active and fallen heroes and Arizona’s Suicide Prevention Coalition. It will also be a “Tough Enough to Wear Pink Night” — in honor of cancer awareness. All the parking proceeds will be donated to a local charity. Attendees are invited to wear their pink and bring a spirit of passion for this Western way of life, while watching rodeo stars of today and tomorrow compete for Black Mountain Roundup titles.

Cave Creek Memorial Arena is located at 37201 North 28th Street, Cave Creek. Pre-event tickets are $15 — children 8 and under are free — or $20 at the door. For tickets, visit and search “Black Mountain Roundup” or find the event on Facebook and Instagram for additional information.

Foothills Food Bank Seeks Adopt-A-Family Sponsors for Families

CAVE CREEK — Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center seeks donors to brighten the holiday season for children, families and seniors in the northern Arizona foothills community as part of the food bank’s 17th annual Adopt-a-Family program. Foothills Food Bank is working with hundreds of individuals donors as well as more than a dozen local organizations and churches to provide gifts, holiday meals and hope for those in crisis in the community.

According to Pam DiPietro, executive director for Foothills Food Bank, all families must be signed up by Dec. 6. Individual donors as well as donor groups such as businesses, HOAs, churches and schools are encouraged to participate in this year’s Adopt-a-Family program. Interested donors determine the size of the family they are willing to adopt then a family wish list is provided as a shopping guide. Monetary donations also are accepted to support the program. All gifts must be wrapped and delivered to Holland Community Center by Dec. 12. Checks are payable to Foothills Food Bank. All gifts and donations are tax deductible according to tax laws. In 2018, the program served 393 families for a total of 1,226 individuals, with an additional 300 people added annually.

For information about the 2019 Adopt-a-Family program or to become a donor, visit Foothills Food Bank & Resource Center is located at 6038 East Hidden Valley Drive in Cave Creek.

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