The American Southwest – A Love Story

We are now almost a month into 2019. The new year is always full of promise, new beginnings, (mostly) healthy habits, and to our dismay the gym is a little more crowded. We all love a fresh start – but I’m finding myself reflecting on all that I’ve taken for granted while growing up. More specifically, I used to dream of leaving the desert for something more urban and cool – also known as Los Angeles. I had the privilege of living in L.A. for two years and it was magic! The amount of diversity, culture and all-around badass lifestyle of the West Coast took me up into a whirlwind adventure that every day I’m grateful that I was able to experience. Also, shoutout to the amazing people who can call themselves “Angelenos” and welcomed me into your world (and also Dodgers Stadium). Once I moved back to Phoenix, I realized I had been a little homesick the whole time. Of course I was homesick for the people that I missed but surprisingly, I longed for the scent of creosote.

Why You Should Love the Desert

The desert is unforgiving. It’s no surprise to anyone that the land can be treacherous and it’s native inhabitants look slightly menacing (the animals and insects mostly). But there’s just that “something” that has always captivated Hollywood (thank you John Wayne and Clint Eastwood). It seems as though we’ve gotten another surge with the “Wild, Wild West” adventure narrative through popular television shows like Breaking Bad and Westworld. As hopefully many of you have noticed, much of what I just described is the white popularization of the southwest. It is so imperative to discuss the true native inhabitants of this land and talk about it as theirs – because, well, it was. I’m not sure that anyone truly understands the sacredness of the land like the Navajo, Apache, Hopi and the Ute Native American tribes. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve grown up in Arizona but I have never taken the opportunity to learn as much as I can about the native people and their culture – until recently. Of course many of us who have grown up in this part of the country understand the horrors that the white man inflicted on these communities of people. We still to this day have not corrected the mistakes of our ancestors, but educating ourselves is a good place to start.

There are beautiful things to learn too. In the Navajo and Apache tribes the word “diné” translates to “di” as in “up” where there is not surface, and “né” as “down” on the ground in which they exist. It tells the people where they came from and the origin of humankind as it inhabits Mother Earth.

Many native tribes put a profound emphasis on respecting the land as sacred and I think that this is something that we should all adopt. We have state laws protecting our saguaro cacti and we have rehabilitation centers for injured or orphaned wildlife including coyotes, rattlesnakes, hawks, owls and so forth. We know that there is no other landscape quite like the desert! It’s an alien world compared to the rest of the country. Our monsoon season in the summers bring on weather similar to biblical proportions. Rolling thunder startles us awake, lightning dances across the sky as if it’s taunting us with it’s power, and there is an array of smells that float through the air that signal the quail and jackrabbits to find cover.

When Your Love Is Tested

Like any relationship – you have your ups and your downs. I just finished romancing you to the point where you’re about to pack your bags and leave the Midwest behind, right? Let me fill you in on what you need to be prepared for first. The weather. We average the 60s and the 70s in the winter which makes Phoenicians remember why we either stay put or why we moved here in the first place. Then March hits and spring training happens, art and music festivals are in full swing and you think, this is great! But for those of us from the desert, the mounting fear slowly creeps it’s way into your mind in the coming weeks. The inevitable is happening. Mid 80s turn to 90s, turn to the break of 105 degrees for weeks on end. Once June hits people are running for the hills, or rather, air conditioned buildings.

Mirages, or imaginary pools of water, really do exist. You’ll be driving down a Phoenix freeway at 2:00 in the afternoon at 115 degrees and see a pool of water floating mid-air in the distance. And there has been more than one occasion where I’ve seen the stereotypical tumbleweed blowing across the street. God forbid you have to venture out in 120 degrees at all, but getting in the car that’s been sitting outside is the sun could be considered a form of torture. I’ve built up some nice leg muscle balancing above my drivers seat until it’s cool enough to sit down. No, I’m not kidding. I’ve actually seen people drive around with oven mits on just to touch the steering wheel.

I’m proud to say that we’re tough. We put up with a lot living in this type of terrain. We know to listen for rattlesnakes on our hikes, many of us have had the pleasure of finding critters in our homes (look up scorpions and centipedes for some fun) and some of us amateurs have known the agonizing process of removing cactus stickers from our bums. Like any boxing match we get the shit beat out of us, bobbing and weaving to miss the next punch, only stopping to drink water and cool down for a second to then get back up and do it again. Why do we put ourselves through it you wonder? Because there’s beauty at every corner even if it’s not glaringly obvious. Because you come to respect the land and it’s creatures, not the other way around. Because there’s nothing like driving down a desert road playing Johnny Cash or The War on Drugs, or taking an afternoon nap under the shade of a porch, taking in the vast skyline at sunset or falling asleep with the music of coyotes howling in the distance.

Christmas Cookies – Need We Say More?

The holiday season is upon us. We’ve been saying since September, “You know what I can’t wait for?” “What?” One of us would reply, “CHRISTMAS.” Both of our families put a huge emphasis on Christmas as we were growing up. Partly for your American movie classics, decorating the tree and presents on Christmas morning. But for us, it also holds the religious significance of Christ being born. So, yeah – a baby Jesus and seeing Riggs and Murtaugh fight crime is a big deal around here.

We are slowly beginning to make our own Christmas traditions during this second holiday season since getting married. We recently attended Las Noches de la Luminarias at DBG and it should be a separate post altogether – but it’s a Phoenix must for those visiting around this time of the year, or for us Phoenicians who want a nice date night activity. The event is also surprisingly a great place to get drunk off of spiked apple cider – according to the very colorful woman who passed us on the trail. Aside from this, another tradition that I’ve personally adopted is spending time in the kitchen (pause for cheesy anti-feminist joke). My mother-in-law as well as my own mom are both great cooks and bakers. My mother-in-law makes peppermint bark every year and my mom makes about 20 rum cakes in which she could do in her sleep. So I thought that it was only fair that I find some recipes to try out in these early years before I find “the one.”

The Details

These Christmas cookies are not “the one,” however they were pretty fun to make. A family friend of Randsom’s gifted us a subscription to Bon Appetit as a wedding gift – brilliant if you ask me. For those of you that live under a rock, Bon Appetit is the Beyoncé of the culinary magazine world. These beautiful cookies are a part of the December 2018/January 2019 issue – which you can still run out and get today. I had a hard time choosing which recipe to make – there are pages full of perfectly designed treats, but I was more confident with the shortbread cookies in that I wouldn’t completely screw them up. Which, I didn’t completely screw them up….

Zebra-Striped Shortbread Cookies

The ingredient list is minimal – which was another appealing aspect of this baking adventure. I didn’t break the bank, and I was able to make enough cookies for 12 of Randsom’s coworkers and still have leftover for us (because what kind of masochistic person doesn’t make enough for themselves too). The process was fairly simple – combining ingredients in the mixer, separating out the vanilla and the chocolate dough.

bon appétit cookies

The most important step was stacking the chocolate and vanilla dough in a rectangle on top of one another, alternating between until 4 layers are made. With the help of saran wrap, you then roll the dough to create “tubes.” This proved to be interesting, as I placed the chocolate dough on the bottom, creating a giant poo-shaped log. Very appetizing. At this point I was a little nervous as to how visually appealing these things were going to be. While waiting an hour for the dough to harden in the refrigerator, I looked up a few other cookie recipes in Bon Appetit – just in case.

The Final Steps

Here comes the fun part. After removing the dough, you get to roll it in crystal sugar until coated. In the interest of full disclosure, the crystal sugar was the most expensive item that I bought for these. You could probably use a different kind, or even sprinkles for that matter – but this sugar is glittery, and stands out against the chocolate which is why the cookies are perfect for the holiday season.

Next, cut the roll with a sharp knife, about 1/2 an inch wide. To my surprise, I rolled the dough the wrong way, which resulted in swirly shortbread cookies instead of zebra stripes. They’re still pretty, okay? Bake for a short time and there you have it.

Randsom and I both like that these are not ultra-sweet like a lot of holiday treats. The shortbread is actually very mild in taste – but the sugar coated rim offers a nice balance. For those of you who are amateur bakers – this is a fun, and hard-to-ruin selection…even if I do roll the dough the wrong way.

bon appétit christmas cookies

A House is Not a Home — Unless it’s Decorated Well

It’s nights like tonight that make me think about how far we’ve come. Thinking back to that Monday evening in 2013 when I had nothing to lose from the random blind date that I was being set up on, and Randsom apprehensively spent the last of his money buying my coffee; he wasn’t sure if he would have enough gas to make it home. We sit in Lux Central now as I type – the very spot where Randsom would later propose. We walked here from our home – a luxury that not many have in the sprawling city that is Phoenix. But here we are!

To be honest, we chose the Pavilions on Central largely for sentimental reasons as we could pop next door and get a cocktail or coffee from our favorite spot at the drop of a hat. It’s also close to Postino, Federal Pizza (a review on them to come – because they fucking rock) and Joyride at Camelback Road and Central. Pavilions on Central has units set up like townhouses which pays off for not having to listen to your neighbor’s shitty electronic music coming through the walls. And although we’re quickly outgrowing our space here, it’s been fun.

Add More Oxygen

One of the first things that we insisted on decorating with were plants. We have 11 indoor plants – RIP to 3 when we were still amateurs. Among the easiest to not kill? Philodendron win that category. For anyone who wants to add some life to their place I would recommend this plant first. They’re beautiful and full – they can grow with little or a lot of light, and they continue to cascade the longer you have them, so they’re great to hang like we have in our dining area. Snake plants are also fantastic – or their more affectionately known name: Mother-in-Law Tongue. We have ours sitting on the bar cart. The advice that I would give with this plant? Neglect it. No, seriously it’s very adamant that it doesn’t need to rely on you.

Our favorite is the lily. They can be pricey for high quality ones but they’re well worth it. These babies are statement pieces as they can be large in size and they bloom beautiful white flowers. I feel fancy with ours because it’s one of the plants that you can clean the leaves if you want to be really extra. They can certainly be finicky and will droop when they’re thirsty, but perk right back up upon watering.

Studies have shown that having houseplants can improve health and help with mood which I fully agree with. It adds life to a dull space and you get the benefits of taking care of something and watching it flourish. It’s also fun to get the half-dead ones that no one wants and bring them back to life. Once you’ve mastered the plant it’s time for the rescue dog.

The Pavilions on Central - Living Room

The Pavilions on Central

The Vintage Touch

I may not dress in full vintage anymore, but the style will never leave me. I’m not sure that Randsom will ever fully understand but there are pieces that I refuse to part with. My refurbished mid-century recliner, for example, is one that he’ll have to pry from my cold, dead hands, along with our gold bar cart and the matching alabaster lamps stored in our closet (for now). Other pieces are recreations of the by-gone eras like the emerald green chairs at our dining table that my mom and I found at Ross for $39.99 a chair. We actually found two chairs and searched about 5 or 6 more stores in the valley before finding the others – there’s no stopping us sometimes.

If it were just me, I’d have a lot more vintage. Randsom would have sleek, modern, minimalist furnishings. So, I think mid-century modern is the perfect halfway point. Marriage is about compromise right? You can still see variation in our home which I appreciate. For example, we have the Casablanca movie poster perched above our couch along with Pulp Fiction. “Of all the pawn shops in all of Los Angeles, Butch walks into mine.”

The Pavilions on Central Midtown Phoenix, AZ

Too Close for Comfort

As I mentioned, we’re quickly outgrowing our space. We probably were after the wedding – it was no small feat to strategically find room for all of the new dish ware and pot ware in our tiny kitchen. I’ve also smacked my elbow one too many times on the bathroom corner (I’m now yelling at inanimate objects). We dream about a home. About having space and storage, and a room for Randsom to write. We’re already thinking about furniture options and renovations.

As much as we talk about the future, we also talk about not wishing away our present. We’re happy in Central Phoenix. We’ve created memories in our apartment that one day we’ll look back on fondly. So, right now as I sit across from him at Lux I’ll take it in and go home with him soon to watch a Coen Brothers original.

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Shoe Finds In and Around Phoenix

“She Gets Out of Bed, Puts On the Heels. She Goes Into the Bathroom, I Hear the Water Go On…She Comes Out of the Bathroom Dripping Wet and She’s Still Got the Heels On.”

There’s a good chance that the first shoes I ever put on as a little girl were heels. We live in a world where “dressing up” might still involve flip-flops (or at least here on the West Coast). However, Randsom and I always risk being overdressed to an event, because really, life is too short to not make the most out of dressing like you’re too good for everyone in the room.

This doesn’t have to involve breaking the bank. I grew up hunting through Goodwill, Savers, Buffalo Exchange, multiple consignment stores in the Valley and vintage shops. I share in my mother and my grandmother’s opinion of, “what’s the fun in picking up something right in front of you? It’s more exciting to dig to find those 1940s Oxford’s at the bottom of the bin.”

For those of you out there that share in the cliche “thrill of the hunt” mentality, here are a few recent treasures that I came across to get you excited for your next excursion.

The Donald Pliner Steel-Toe

Simple. Feminine, with an edge. The perfect way to describe most of my favorite things in the closet. Like most Donald Pliner shoes, they slip onto your foot like they’re supposed to be there. On a whim, I went to Flo’s on 7th consignment store, a favorite of my mother’s. As a bonus, 100% of their net proceeds support programs for at-risk youth. These stilettos were $29.99 and with Flo’s frequent specials, I purchased a $5.00 hot pink tote (proceeds went to a local charity that supports women in business) to get lifetime 20% off all of their shoes.

I’ve worn them once for our 1 year wedding anniversary dinner with a BCBG wrap dress.

The Steve Madden Leopard Ankle Strap Pumps

Those who say that animal print on women is cheap are probably scared of it. It’s bold – don’t get me wrong. But it’s bold in the best way. It’s a timeless addition to an otherwise minimalist wardrobe. Animal print, especially leopard and cheetah, go with more than you may think. I’ve paired these Steve Madden’s with black, nude, white, red, gold and even jewel tones like emerald green. The tried-and-true, Buffalo Exchange in Central Phoenix blessed me with this hardly-worn pair of beauties for $49.99.

The pumps are surprisingly easy to walk in for the more experienced ladies (or gentlemen). I remember wearing heels to my senior prom that were higher than this and I cringe at the thought of how I must have looked trying to walk around in them for 3 hours. All for the sake of the photos, am I right?

The Alexander McQueen

What can I say? My first pair of house-name designer shoes. I’ve always respected the British fashion designer for pushing against the stereotypical “high fashion” protocol. In typical British style, Alexander McQueen always embraces the best of a punk rock influence in their pieces. Who can forget the high drama Lady Gaga collaborations?

These shoes are out of this world in the sense that they’re obviously awesome but they also remind me of the off-white interior walls of the Millenium Falcon in the best way. I imagine they feel similar to the touch as well.

I purchased these at To Be Continued… a high-end consignment store in Scottsdale. They only accept the best. For example: Chanel, Tom Ford, Valentino, you get the idea. I went in there innocently enough, mostly to get inspiration but came out with these for $100. They are slightly worn, however I tend to be optimistic with secondhand fashion to say that someone else broke them in for me so that I could enjoy them immediately. Needless to say I can boast along with the richest of them, at a fraction of the price.

+ Hennessey and Crown Vic

My 2003 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

My first car. Bought it for $2800 when I finished my undergrad.

About:

I bought my interceptor when it had 92,000 miles on it in August of 2015. It now has 116,000 miles.

In its former life, I have been able to verify that it was in the motor pool of the Kern County Sheriff’s Department in Bakersfield, California, where it averaged fewer than 6,000 miles of use per year.

Because of the comparatively low amount of miles, combined with full working rear doors and power windows, a full padded rear seat and the absence of any holes or decals on the exterior of the vehicle (including its roof, trunk, and interior paneling). The operative theory here is that it was an undercover, unmarked “slick-top” take-home unit, as it also includes a cruise control-enabled steering wheel and heated mirrors — rarely included options when police interceptors are used solely for patrol.

It does still have strobe lights in the front corner lights and taillights, as well as a center strongbox with auxiliary power sources that has since been converted to a traditional armrest, with all wiring in the interior and trunk of the vehicle having been zip-tied and tucked away out of sight.

Along with externally-cooled fluids, heavy-duty hoses that last the lifetime of the drivetrain (easily past 500,000 miles with proper maintenance), heavy-duty suspension components, front and rear sway bars, a heavy-duty alternator and vented steel wheels with the original Ford “dog dish” center caps all are still intact and included with this vehicle. A full size spare, mounted on the top shelf in the trunk is also included.

Restorations:

Virtually every maintenance item on this car that can be replaced has been with OE or better parts and fluids by ASE-certified mechanics, with all receipts accounted for within the duration of my having owned it. Routine full-synthetic oil changes have been recorded every 5,000 miles.

Full coolant, transmission, differential, air intake, spark plug, PCV, fuel injector, alignment, and suspension components have been serviced or replaced according to Ford’s suggested intervals since my having owned the vehicle. I made preventive maintenance a priority while I have owned it, and would not hesitate to drive it across the country at a moment’s notice.

The paint is the original “Performance White” from the factory, which was already in excellent shape at the time I purchased it, and has been garage-kept since. It has also been washed, waxed and clay-barred on a regimented basis. It has a few nicks consistent with fleet service, but which have been spot-treated and sealed with OE-paintcode treatment paint.

The interior is totally free of any scuffs, stains or smells, and has been deep-cleaned. The climate control will both freeze you out in the summer or burn you up in the winter.

The door jambs, door sills, trunk, and all compartments are totally clean. The waterproof, plastic flooring has been cleaned with simple green and hit with Armor All for a like-new shine.

There is a 1.5” tear in the lower back of the driver’s seat that was there before my having purchased the vehicle, but that has not grown or frayed in the duration of my ownership.

Modifications:

The drivetrain has been programmed with a computer tune by legendary 4.6L Mustang tuning yard Mo’s Speed Shop, out of Dallas, Georgia.

This includes a SCT4 tuner with 87 and 91 octane tunes, which enhances throttle response, top end power, low end torque, shift quickness, efficiency and overall drivability. It is truly a joy to drive, and makes a beautiful engine note from the same dual-overhead cam V8 that was used in the Mustang GT of its day.

The addition of the 80mm airbox, air tube, mass air flow sensor and high-flow air filter and intake system out of a Mercury Marauder means this engine flows far more air than the stock 2003 setup. Using an OBD to bluetooth app, I measured 290 horsepower on the 91 octane tune over a factory 240.

I also had Thrush Turbo mufflers welded on behind the catalytic converters, which provide a nice throaty rumble on startup and under heavier throttle, but that in no way drone at any other speed.

I routinely got over 22 miles per gallon on the freeway, where approximately 80 percent of my driving has occurred.

My suspension and braking modifications include upgrading the front struts and rear shocks to the police-spec heavy duty KYB ‘Gas-A-Just’ setup within the last 7,000 miles, which is the favored aftermarket upgrade both on forums and by many law enforcement agencies. I recently replaced the rear brake pads and rotors with Hawk HPS high-performance brake pads, and Bendix police-spec rotors. The front pads and rotors have 70 percent life remaining.

This car handles like a vehicle much smaller than it is, and stops on a dime without any fade in traffic.

The last notable performance modification includes the fitting of BFGoodrich Comp Sport 2 A/S tires, which are a wider section width than regular spec — 245/55 R17. They include a matching full-size spare tire that has been rotated in one time since they were installed at 108,500 miles. The slightly wider section width makes this car feel truly planted, and are a $900 set with a 40,000-mile warranty, with about 8,000 miles already on them.

The interior modifications I made include adding a Pioneer head unit with CD, radio and auxillary input, replacing all factory speakers with Pioneer 5×7 speakers in the front doors and rear deck (4 total). From here I removed the front door panels and rear deck and surrounded them with DynaMat sound deadener, which enabled higher performance from the speakers and decreased outside road noise without having to turn the volume any higher.

I had a Pioneer Champion amplifier that can support up to 2000 watts of power and a 10-inch shallow-mount Pioneer subwoofer installed professionally by Sun Valley Stereo, which packs plenty of punch without using up any of the cavernous cargo space of the trunk of this full size sedan, and has a hidden bass adjustment dial underneath the front cupholders, which makes adjusting the low-frequency power very easy to do on the fly.

The trunk lid has also been completely coated with the same sound damping material that was used in the interior of the car.

Exterior modifications include metal-riveted installation of a chin spoiler from the 2003 Mach 1 Mustang, OE rear mudguards, accented smoked tail lights, and professionally tinted windows. (Rear windshield is 5%, door windows are 15%).

The car had a clean title, and is truly one of the finest examples of this storied body-on-frame workhorse that is still in such pristine condition.

Whether you’re looking to add one to your fleet, are in search for a performance vehicle with great road manners that’s a lot of fun to drive or are in need of a reliable commuter or first car, this one can check all of these boxes without a second glance.

+ Tuned Mustang Ecoboost

My 2015 Mustang EcoBoost Build

Follow the build on my 2015 Ford Mustang Ecoboost Premium Package here

The specifics

I bought this car a few months ago. Really enjoying working on a modern vehicle, especially compared to what I’m coming from.

+ how to: black appearance package mustang

Echelon Autosports Review | North Scottsdale Auto Wrap Shop

When I was looking for a Mustang, configuring new models online at ford.com and searching through the wastes of craigslist, TrueCar, CarMax, even local dealer inventory, one feature that I really liked was the blackout look of the black appearance package.

Seems like it’s pretty rare to see a S550 (15′-) Mustang in or around the Phoenix-area with the black appearance package on the street or online — and even more rare to see one up for sale. My thinking is when you equip it from the factory, you can’t also equip any of the performance packages that Ford offers on various trim levels. Don’t know why it’s this way, because it’s otherwise such a clean look.

So while you get black 19-inch wheels, chrome deletes on the satin black emblems if you drive the Coyote, as well as the painted black roof — you’re effectively stuck with a base-model mustang when it comes to performance.

How to DIY black-appearance-package your Mustang

If you do opt for the performance package, you get black multi-spoke 19’s. This is what I did just because I did want the performance hardware, but also because it was halfway there to having the look of the black appearance package anyway.

Black Appearance Package Mustang

Long story short, I PlastiDipped and sealed the emblems on mine before I went looking for a vinyl wrap shop near my work in Scottsdale.

After the usual Google-fu, decided on Echelon Autosports. Got a few quotes from shops close to the Scottsdale Airport, and while Echelon and another came in at the same $250, a few others wanted $400+. Which leads me to the whole point of this review…

It actually wasn’t a PITA

I’ve been writing about cars for a couple years now — long enough to catch onto the grift of service writers who overcharge you for shit or try to take advantage of people who they think don’t know what the fuck is up. I’ll just say I didn’t have any mental warning lights come on talking to the guys at EA. (Alright, I’ll stop.)

I was in and out when I took my car to their shop on my lunch — they were prompt and kept their word both on the pricing and timing. Not much more you can really ask for. What I appreciated more than anything was that I was probably the least-expensive job they had all week, but it didn’t feel like it. (Numerous Lambos, a matted-out G-Wagon when I came back for my car.) They listened to what I wanted, and my car came out looking great.

No telling how long a satin black vinyl-wrapped roof will last in the Phoenix heat, but for now I think it looks pretty fucking clean.

Disclaimer: this review was in no way solicited by Echelon Autosports, and I did not receive compensation of any kind — I just appreciated the quality of work they did and the way they seem to go about their business.

The Best Radar Detector for Phoenix Roadways | Cobra RAD 450

 

I was looking for radar detectors for my hour-and-a-half commute up the 51 to Scottsdale from uptown Phoenix.

Say what you will about the morality of it if you’d like to, but in my opinion the red light and speed cameras in Maricopa County can be viewed under entrapment and invasion of privacy laws under similar legal and ethical gray areas…

Best Radar Detector for Mustang

One of the subtle things I really like about my car is its windshield, with a big FORD livery across the top — kind of a cool touch they did with the S550 generation Mustang.

Under it: a row of gauge clusters in the middle of the dash for the boost gauge and oil pressure, navigation screen, configurable ambient lighting — before I go on about it like the sistine chapel ceiling — I was just looking for a radar detector that didn’t take up a lot of space, stick out too much or have any annoying lights that might fire up at the first sign there’s a speed gun on you.

Keeping the whole principal of diminishing returns intact, I wasn’t trying to spend more than your average speeding ticket in the Phoenix area. $150 or so.

A decent looking radar detector?

I went with the Cobra RAD 450. I’ll leave an update in a few months on how effective it is at dodging the PPD/DPS/TPD/SPD/MCSO as well as the constitutionally-opaque red light cameras in and around Phoenix.

So far it’s saved me a couple times in about 2,000 miles of ownership, including once on the way to Tucson out around Eloy. The rest of the warnings I’ve gotten have been from red light cameras, which I usually get a couple hundred feet of warning on, all on the “Ka,” “K,” and X-band frequencies.

But what I like about it is that it’s actually pretty cool-looking.

This white ticker bounces back and forth across its narrow readout while it’s powered on, only changing when it flickers a new warning light. Some reviews on Amazon compared it to kind of a Knight Rider type of vibe, and I do think there’s a vaporwave quality to it.

The best radar detector for your Ford Mustang?

I’m at least pleased with it so far. If you’re looking for a minimalistic design that doesn’t clutter up your windshield, it would be high on my list. I don’t know a lot about radar detectors in general, but I’d assume the difference between a $150 one and a $500 unit is pretty negligible when it comes to the actual technology that’s inside it.

As far as whether or not it’s the best radar detector for the Phoenix-area or Arizona in general, it should be able to warn you long enough ahead of time against everything other than the laser speed guns some departments use.

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated or encouraged by Cobra or any other entity to write this brief review.