Greg Kerr: Owner of Miles to Go Clothing and Belts

Greg Kerr, owner of Miles to Go, photographed at RnR in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Greg Kerr, owner of Miles to Go, photographed at RnR in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Greg Kerr
twitter.com/mtgclothing

Greg Kerr’s position as owner and art director for Miles to Go may be his full-time job, but Kerr insists his T-shirt line remains his passion project, just like how it started. The 33-year-old Scottsdale resident sells his literature-inspired shirts all over the world, with designs commissioned by artists to transform inspiration from books and poems into eye-grabbing apparel. You can find his merchandise everywhere from bookstores in Oregon and San Francisco, to the local Changing Hands Bookstore. Kerr keeps his operation local, printing shirts at Acme Prints in Scottsdale. He also manufactures belt buckles through Miles to Go Belts and has made them for everyone from Fall Out Boy to Johnny Cupcakes. When he’s not busy running his business, Kerr sings and plays guitar for local rock band City of Thieves. Read on for where his passion for fashion came from, as well as to hear Kerr talk about his five favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came out to Arizona when I was done with college. I visited in October with a friend whose mom lived here, when it was beautiful. Everyone was outside, being active and it wasn’t gray all of the time. I came home and had two months left on my lease and decided to move to Phoenix seven years ago from Philadelphia. I needed a catalyst and knew if I didn’t leave Philly then, I never would. It was time for a change. Continue reading

Joanie Simon: Host of Restaurant Live AZ

Joanie Simon, host of Restaurant Live AZ, photographed at Jewel of the Crown in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Joanie Simon, host of Restaurant Live AZ, photographed at Jewel of the Crown in Scottsdale, by Nicki Escudero

Joanie Simon
twitter.com/joaniesimonsaid

Phoenix is continually gaining notoriety in the national culinary scene, and part of that is thanks to Joanie Simon. The 31-year-old Phoenix resident, who is a general manager at her family’s 40-plus-year-old business Copperstate Restaurant Technologies, hosts a weekly Arizona-focused dining podcast every Wednesday at 3 p.m. Arizona time at restaurantliveaz.com. On the hour-long podcast, she interviews local restaurant personalities, ranging from head chefs to cocktail creators, in an effort to bring more recognition to the massive amount of culinary talent the Valley has to offer. Simon talked about her views of Arizona dining below, as well as five reasons why she loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a third-generation native, in the sense my parents were in college when I was born in Portland, Ore. I moved here when I was 3 years old. I went to North Ranch Elementary School, Desert Shadows Middle School and Horizon High School. I got an art history degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s in counseling from Shippensburg University. I was working for residence halls for about 10 years, at St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., then at Juilliard, then my husband and I moved back to Arizona to start a family in 2009. Continue reading

Cody Ross: Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielder

Cody Ross, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Cody Ross, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Cody Ross
twitter.com/IAmCodyRoss

Cody Ross isn’t just one of the nicest guys in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder is also a Miley Cyrus fan. So much so, he walked out to her song “We Can’t Stop,” due to a recommendation by his good buddy, Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. The song must have worked, because Ross goes into the All-Star break with hot hands, both in terms of hits and fielding. The 10-year veteran, who came to the Diamondbacks this year after being a free agent from the Boston Red Sox, won a World Series with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and has become a Diamondbacks leader. He’s hit 25 RBIs, making him one of the most consistent players on the team — a characteristic he thinks is key for the Diamondbacks to a win a World Series this year. Keep reading for the 32-year-old Scottsdale resident’s outlook on the team, as well as to hear five reasons why he’s loved living in the Valley since buying a home in Arizona in 2005.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here at the end of 2005. The weather in the off-season brought me here to work out and train. I fell in love with it and moved here. Continue reading

Nicole Zangara: Author of ‘Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly’

Nicole Zangara
twitter.com/ZangaraNicole

Nicole Zangara was feeling uneasy about some of her friendships. She went through what many women in their 20’s and 30’s experience — sudden drop-offs in friendships, with little explanation. Inspired to figure out just what makes female friendships so complex, she started writing down her thoughts. Within a few months, she had the beginnings of a book that was published last year by Chandler-based Brighton Publishing, called “Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The book is a collection of Zangara’s own experiences related to female friendships, as well as vignettes the 29-year-old Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Scottsdale resident gathered from about 25 women of all ages. Read on for how writing the book affects Zangara’s views of friendships today, and keep scrolling to watch a video of her sharing her five favorite things about living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I have lived in a lot of places. I grew up in Massachusetts, went to college in D.C., went to graduate school in St. Louis, and then moved to Houston for a post-graduate fellowship at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Even though I had a great group of friends in Houston, one day I had this aha moment of, “What am I doing here?” I didn’t live near my family, which is very important to me. One of my brothers lives out here, and over the years, my family would come in November for Thanksgiving. I made the decision to move here and came in 2012. Continue reading

Gabe Bertaccini: Founder of Il Tocco Food, Culinary Mischief

Gabe Bertaccini, founder of il Tocco Food, photographed at Hillstone Restaurant in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Gabe Bertaccini, founder of il Tocco Food, photographed at Hillstone Restaurant in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Gabe Bertaccini
twitter.com/IlToccoFood

Local Italian chef Gabe Bertaccini, 27, has made his mark on the Phoenix culinary scene by creating one-of-a-kind dining experiences. He features new menus for each event, including his underground six-course meals, Culinary Mischief, and wine tastings, Bacchus Mischief. The Phoenix resident, originally from Florence, Italy, also does private in-home events everywhere from Los Angeles to New York, under his private dining experience company Il Tocco. Bertaccini started culinary school when he was only 13 and now has dual Bachelor’s degrees in supply chain management and journalism, as well as a Master’s in mass communication. Get excited, because Bertaccini will be opening a new restaurant this year, a small Italian eatery in Central Phoenix, where he’ll be the executive chef. Bertaccini talked about where his passion for the dining experience comes from, as well as five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I came here eight years ago on vacation on a tour of national parks with my family. We did about 13 or 14 national parks in 20 days, so it was nice to come to Phoenix and see a city. I loved it, and I decided to apply to Arizona State University, thinking they wouldn’t get me in anyway. I was working at a restaurant in Florence at the time, and ASU accepted me. Continue reading