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C / hometown love / tucson part 2

There are just too many great places in Tucson to fit into one post last week, so this is the follow up. Some of these are recommendations from friends in town who know the cool stuff, and some of these recommendations are those friends.

1. Jessica Wills Photography

Along with being a lovely lady friend from the best high school class ever (Hi Dr Draper!), Mrs Wills has an awesome eye, and can photograph the hell outta any puppy, wedding or other life form. Her stuff is gorgeous and endearing, and my favorites are her nature shots. Her photos make me want to go back to Costa Rica now.


Awesome sloth photo by Jessica Wills

2. Tucson Tamale Company

Man, do I miss this place. The Tucson Tamale Company has some of the most inventive and delicious tamales I have ever shoved in my face, and I have shoved a lot of tamales in my face. The ingredients range from soy chorizo and green chilies to Thanksgiving tamales, stuffed with roasted turkey and cranberries. They ship, luckily, and you still have time to get your hands on them before the holidays. I know it’s off-season, but the green corn tamales are my favorite. Hint hint, mom.


Photos by Tucson Tamale Company

3. Chocolate Depot

From what I hear, this place has some of the most delicious chocolate covered caramels this side of the Mississippi. I used to go to this little shop when I was in high school and would make my friends take old-timey photos at Trail Dust Town. It’s not fancy and there are often little grubby hands leaving fingerprints on the glass cases. The shop is in the Trail Dust Town complex, adding to the fun of shopping in the store, and I am excited to get back to Tucson and do my research on these caramels I keep hearing about..


Photo by Chocolate Depot

4. Carly Quinn Tile Designs

Carly worked with my mom a few years ago when my parents re-did their kitchen, and mom hasn’t stopped talking about her since. The work that she does is beautiful, and feels like Arizona, without the normal pastel-coyote-howling-at-the-moon thing. Her work is modern and colorful and unique. I need to find an excuse to get those Dia de los Muertos skeletons.


Carly Quinn



Photos by Carly Quinn

Again, I don’t live in Tucson anymore. I just miss it a lot. If you know of anything I am missing, please let me know!



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C / hometown love / tucson


Cedar vases by Jon Mavko, sold at MAST

I grew up in Tucson and I never thought it was cool. There is a chance, a small chance, that I was just a crappy teenager and didn’t appreciate all the wonderful things about this place, but I love going back now. I will be heading back in a few weeks for the holidays and have been harassing old friends for the scoop on great places to round out my holiday shopping. (One can only bring back so many elephant-themed items from Cambodia.)

So here are a few of the places I am looking forward to raiding upon my return. All of these companies sell online, but if you have the chance to go to Tucson, you really should. It’s an amazing city and so, so, so, so much better than Phoenix.

1. Carlos Diaz


So I actually didn’t even need to bug anyone to find out about Carlos Diaz Jewelry. My mom and dad have been shopping there for years for each other, and I have always loved the colors and gorgeous detail of the silver jewelry that Carlos makes. Mr Diaz still owns the shop, is there a lot of the time and is still making most of the stuff in the shop. I think he is in his 90’s. I have spent way too much time on his website in the past few weeks, and it took a long time to pick a few favorites below.


Photos by Carlos Diaz



I was actually turned on to MAST by my high school friend, Jon. He has been making incredible cedar vases and posting pretty pictures on Facebook, so I bothered him about where to buy them. (That’s them in the header photo!) MAST is currently stocking his stuff, along with a bunch of other very cool jewelry and accessory designers. I don’t know why I want that belt buckle so badly, but goodness, I do.


Photo Credit: MAST


TOO-STRONGToo Strong? More like Too Cool. I felt like an awkward 16 year old trying to talk to the cute guy in the band when I saw their stuff. It’s James Dean cool, but you know, doesn’t care about it’s hair. It’s well made, heavy-duty, and made in very good taste. I’m just going to say it: it’s sexy. They make sexy bags. Damnit, I am never going to be able to look these people in the eye…


Photos Credit: Too Strong

These are the first three. Part two comes next week. Happy treasure hunting!