Dressing Up the Scottsdale Waterfront

Bright and beautiful bins make litter disappear  

By Susan Baldani

Walking along the Scottsdale waterfront, you’ll notice some colorful works of art. Not only are they wonderful to look at, but they’re extremely functional as well. Within the fanciful veneers, you’ll find garbage and recyclable receptacles.

“I thought it was really a neat and original idea to take these ordinary trash cans that you never really look at and make them part of the arts events,” says Mary Neubauer, President’s Professor of Sculpture at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University.   

Installed in May, these receptacles feature hummingbirds, flowers, butterflies and abstract whirly patterns. There are eight color combinations, including a blue pattern over silver and a bright blue over yellow. Besides the ascetic appeal, recycled metal from old dumpsters was incorporated, reinforcing the idea of recycling.

“I like to work with concepts of regional fauna and flora, so those were my themes,” says Neubauer.

In addition to metal, she also works in stone. Her works of art can be found throughout Arizona, as well as in Italy, Switzerland and France.

“I really enjoyed this project because it is making something so ordinary and functional have a different meaning,” says Neubauer.

Written for Scottsdale Lifestyle magazine in Arizona.

Culinary Compositions

Delicious and delectable bites across the board

By Susan Baldani

Charcuterie boards are an easy and delicious way to bring people together. Toni Zorich, owner of Dammi Vino, grew up in an Italian household. When she creates a board for her family, she makes sure to always include prosciutto and Italian cheeses.

“I’m Italian, and we sit around the table and drink wine and eat food all the time,” she says. “I came up with Dammi Vino, which roughly translates to ‘Feed me wine.’ It’s what I do best in life.”

Dammi Vino is a local company providing unique food and wine experiences. Their custom charcuterie boards often include such favorites as prosciutto, focaccia crackers, and barrel-aged cheeses. And, says Toni, they are full to the brim with the highest quality foods.

“They are built with lots of care and much love because this is a family business,” she says. “As much as I would like to take credit for it, I could not do this without my mom, my fiancé, or his sister.”

What she puts on a board depends on the client and the event. It can be fancy and festive for a romantic picnic or girls’ night out, or more down to earth and manly for a sporting event or poker game. But each one is an original.

“Part of the fun with my boards is you can get wine that pairs with it, or a few different bottles that pair with certain bites,” says Toni. “It just takes it to another level.”

To find out more, go to https://dammivino.com/.

Starting with green olives and going clockwise:

[see picture above]

Castelvetrano Olives

These olives have a sweet, subtle flavor.

Honey Goat Gouda

An in-between hard and soft cheese with a great subtle, salty, and sweet flavor.


A traditional Italian dry-cured meat sliced very thin. It has a great saltiness.

Pretzel Thins

A cracker that is familiar to people, and has a flavor that hits everyone’s palate well.

Peppered Salami / Hard Salami

A meat with a slight spice flavor that brings a familiarity as something your guests can easily identify

Soft Brie Cheese

Pairs well with everything. It provides a perfect vessel for jams, jellies and honey.

Homemade Basil Strawberry Jam

Jams and jellies add flavor and color. This jam is best paired with the Brie cheese.

Herbed Pita Crisps

A cracker that brings more interesting flavors to the charcuterie board.


An Italian cured meat that brings sweet and salty to the board. It is one of the most delicious elements and always the first to go.

Kalamata Olives

These popular olives have a briny and salty flavor that many palates find pleasing.

Bellavitano Chardonnay Cheese

A great hard cheese with bites of salty, buttery and floral notes.

Rosemary to garnish

Written for Franklin Lifestyle magazine in Tennessee.

Attire That Inspires

Outfitting women with the tools to get the job done

By Susan Baldani

Dress for Success Nashville, a program through the YWCA, has been in operation for close to 10 years now. A local affiliate of the world-wide organization, it has helped countless women become financially secure.

“I believe very much in the YW’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and loving peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all,” says Sharon Roberson, the President and CEO of the YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. “Dress for Success is a crucial part of that mission because we do believe that women need support and career development tools in order to be empowered.”

Women are referred to Dress for Success from one of their many partner organizations in the community. These are women who have a desire to transition to a higher economic level through professional development. Dress for Success provides the clothes, the tools, and a network for women to help them become financially independent. This, in turn, leads to more security for their families.  

A career specialist helps women put together their resumes. Even if they have never been in the workforce, these specialists help them discover the skills they have and how to market them.

Before an interview, a woman is given what they call a “suiting,” which consists of an interview outfit and accessories. Wearing the appropriate outfit instills the confidence needed to make a positive first impression. If the woman gets the job, she is then able to return and receive a week’s worth of clothing, which she can mix and match as she desires.

Many of these women, says Roberson, have never had anyone pamper them or encouraged them to feel good about themselves.

“We also have a professional women’s group that mentors our clients, because when you get into the workforce, the first step is getting the job, but keeping the job is the second step,” she says.

Some of the women who have gone through Dress for Success and other YWCA programs come back to be mentors themselves.

“They are our greatest pride, says Roberson. “There are no better teachers than those who have been there.”

To support this invaluable program, go to https://www.ywcanashville.com/what-we-do/dfs/. Professional women can donate their time; others can hold a clothing drive, or financially assist the program. If anyone in Williamson County is interested in Dress for Success and/or any women’s organizations as a whole, Roberson would be happy to speak with them.

“For $250.00, you can cover the cost of an interview suiting for one client,” says Roberson. “You can give a woman a new lease on life with this $250.00.”

Written for Brentwood Lifestyle Magazine in Tennessee.