Kim Haasarud: Founder of Liquid Architecture, Co-Founder of Arizona Cocktail Week

Kim Haasarud, founder of Liquid Architecture and co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, photographed at the Hotel Valley Ho, by Nicki Escudero

Kim Haasarud, founder of Liquid Architecture and co-founder of Arizona Cocktail Week, photographed at the Hotel Valley Ho, by Nicki Escudero

Kim Haasarud
twitter.com/MommyMixologist

Kim Haasarud never planned on making a career out of cocktails, but the Fordham University psychology grad and former entertainment industry pro turned what once was a bartending side job into titles such as cocktail author, Arizona Cocktail Week co-founder, and mixology consultant, as founder of Liquid Architecture. The 42-year-old Mesa resident has worked with big-name brands such as Applebee’s and P.F. Chang’s to perfect their cocktail menus and keep drinkers happy.

Haasarud is working on a new book she hopes to be released next year — all she’ll say is, “A blender might be involved” — and she’ll be at Arizona Cocktail Week February 14 through 21 — get details here. Learn what drives Haasarud’s passion for crafting the perfect drink, and check out a video of her naming her five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

My husband’s family lives in Phoenix. I lived in New York for 10 years and in L.A. for eight. We got married and had two children, and we wanted to be close to grandparents and a major airport so we could be close to L.A., and we moved here in 2010.

I was born in Nacogdoches, Texas. That’s way, way East Texas, and I was mostly raised in Dallas. I also lived in Kansas City, Kansas, where I went to Blue Valley High School, before attending Fordham University in New York City, where I got my Bachelor of Science in psychology. Continue reading

Carlos Montufar: Flamenco Dancer and Instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar, flamenco dancer and instructor with Flamenco Por La Vida, photographed at the Burton Barr Central Library, by Nicki Escudero

Carlos Montufar
FlamencoPorLaVida.com

Carlos Montufar’s passion for flamenco is evident every time he graces a stage, as his turns, claps, stomps and facial expressions are fueled by a fervor he’s had since he was a child, and that has since made him one of the most prominent flamenco dancers in the Valley. The 31-year-old Phoenix resident studied the classic Spanish dance in New Mexico before bringing his talent back to the Valley, and now you can see him on stage with local flamenco company Flamenco Por La Vida (FPLV) Wednesday nights at Gallo Blanco and Saturday nights at Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix.

Montufar works as a teacher’s assistant for Madison Rose Lane Elementary during the day, working for the special education department, converting print to braille. He also works as an instructor with FPLV, teaching flamenco Monday nights at 5th Row Dance Studios in Phoenix — find more information here. Read on for why Montufar loves flamenco, and to hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born in Monterey Park, California and moved to El Paso, Texas when I was 6. I came to Phoenix when I was 17 to study drafting at High-Tech Institute. I wasn’t a fan of the school, so I transferred to Glendale Community College to get my associate degree in arts and humanities. Continue reading

John Schieffer: Painter and ‘Bearly Escaped’ Author

John Schieffer, Valley painter, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer, Valley painter and author and illustrator of Bearly Escaped, photographed at his home studio in Goodyear, by Nicki Escudero

John Schieffer
twitter.com/JohnSchieffer

John Schieffer‘s paintings inspire double-takes, as their photorealistic qualities make the images look lifelike. The 42-year-old Goodyear resident crafts colorful works, often modeled after objects he photographs, from dice and jacks, to martinis and toy dinosaurs. Art lovers can view his work at Scottsdale’s Bonner David Galleries, where he is represented and has a special exhibit March 26 through April 6.

Schieffer is also a children’s book author and illustrator, having self-published his book Bearly Escaped, featuring his paintings, in 2012. The book follows escaped circus animals as they interact with the human world and can be found here.

Schieffer talked about what inspired him to be an artist and about his artistic process, and you can hear him name his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley in a video.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved to Arizona in 2006 from Connecticut. I was born in Waterbury, Connecticut and lived most of my life in Prospect, Connecticut. My wife and I had vacationed out here once and saw the great real estate and loved the climate. We were getting sick of the New England winters, which can be pretty harsh. Continue reading

Pavle Milic: Co-Owner of FnB, Founder of Los Milics Wine

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic, co-owner of FnB, Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants, photographed in front of his Los Milics wine label at Arizona Wine Merchants in Bodega Market, by Nicki Escudero

Pavle Milic
twitter.com/FnBAZ

Pavle Milic has been a fervent force in the Valley’s dining scene, with more than 25 years of experience in Arizona’s restaurant industry. The Colombia-born, 42-year-old Chandler resident has worked at Phoenix’s Racho Pinot, Cowboy Ciao and Royal Palms, as well as restaurants in New York City and Napa Valley. He now co-owns FnB restaurant in Scottsdale, as well as next-door Bodega Market and Arizona Wine Merchants. He has his own wine label, Los Milics, and hosts brunches on Rabbit Island with Desert Splash Adventures.

You can hear Milic on the online radio station he founded, MyAzNowRadio.com, where he interviews notable professionals in the Valley. Read more to learn how Milic became a formidable player in Arizona dining, and keep reading to watch a video of Milic naming his top five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was 15 when I came to Arizona. My stepdad became partners with Franco Fazzouli, who owns Franco’s Italian Café in Scottsdale. We moved here in 1987 to open up Franco’s Trattoria in Scottsdale. I went to Saguaro High School and Scottsdale Community College, and got a degree from the Academy of Broadcasting in Phoenix in communications and broadcasting.

My dad defected communist Yugoslavia in 1962 and wound up in Colombia, where he met my mom, and I was born. We moved to Queens, New York when I was 11 because my mom wanted to live here. Continue reading