Tag Archives: Arizona

Schmooze Profile: Dana Arbel & Ashley Burns


Dana Arbel (left) and Ashley Burns (right) of DiRTYOGA


Name: Dana Arbel and Ashley Burns of DiRTYOGA


DA: Originally from Brooklyn, NY but raised in North Phoenix

AB: Born in Los Angeles, and raised in North Phoenix

Preferred title: “DiRTYOGA Mama’s”

Favorite Arizona place:

DA: Hiking at Dreamy Draw

AB: Weekending in Tucson.

Favorite drink:

DA: Whiskey sour

AB: Paloma

Favorite local project:

DA: I love going to Wednesday nights at the Phoenix Arts Museum

AB: The Jazz Series at Valley Bar.



Savasana or handstand?

DA: Savasana

AB: Savasana

What was your first real job?

DA: I made sandwiches at Togo’s for a summer when I was 16

AB: I was a tutor at Kumon Math and Reading.

How do you describe the work you do?

DA: Through DiRTYOGA, we teach yoga classes in different outdoor settings, through local collaborations to make people feel GOOD and close to their communities. We believe in the power of yoga, and want to make it accessible to all.

AB: It’s heart work! DiRTYOGA was birthed from our personal experiences with the practice, and our need to share it. We believe in bringing yoga, in accessible ways, to the people with the help of like-minded organizations. A lot of time is spent on reaching out and ASKING for collaboration opportunities. Our movement has been successful thus far because of our willingness to be vulnerable (open-hearted) and simply ask. It is amazing how often the response is yes.


What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

DA: Lately I have been exploring many forms of self expression including writing, painting, and dancing. With no expectations or goals, but for the purpose of simply expressing myself. It has made a huge difference In my life.

AB: I journal daily, and recently added acupuncture to my self-love routine.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

DA: When my house is in order, I can put music on, cook, and chill out.

AB: When I am leading a yoga class.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

DA: You are great being exactly who you are, don’t try to be anyone else. Speak up!

AB: Stop straightening your hair! Embrace the effortless power and beauty that come with rocking your curls. They are a special extension of you.


What direction would you like your life to take from here?

DA: I am at a place where I am creating the life that I want for myself, by allowing myself to explore and learn. So I say, to be determined.

AB: Sky’s the limit! Next, I want to take over the world one smile at a time.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Schmooze Profile: Galena Davis


Name:                                    Galena Davis

Hometown:                          Wheatfields, AZ 

Favorite Arizona place:    Home! The Navajo Reservations! Near the Chuska Mountains. Most of my family resides there and I can’t imagine living any place else. The air is cool and the mountains are calming.

 Favorite drink:                    Navajo tea, hot and cold.

 Favorite local project:       I’m not sure if this is even a project, but I love all the Senior Centers that serve the elders living across the reservation. I understand that most chapters have been working on improving their Senior Centers. The one in my community offers a lunch program, access to washers and dryers, and even shower rooms for the elders to bathe. It’s such a neat program. Most of our elders do not have running water or electricity, so these Senior Centers are a blessing.


Morning person or Night owl:

 I could be both. Most days start at 6am for me. Then again, I often burn the midnight oil.

What was your first real job?

Does earning money by braiding hair and babysitting by age 11 count? Haha! If not, my first REAL job was actually working in the food service industry. I was a server at a Denny’s Restaurant located here on the Reservation.  I was 19 years old and saving up so I could move to the city to further my college education.  I was there for about 4 months. It was a great experience. It gave me a chance to almost-perfect my customer service skills. I loved it, I made new friends and I even got to meet some notable Native actors/performers.

How do you describe the work you do?

I am: An aunt, a motivator, a respiratory therapist, and a business owner.

I love being an aunt. I love my kids! I take my role very serious. Haha!! Besides enjoying being an aunt, I am a board certified Respiratory Therapist. I work at a hospital here on the Navajo Reservation where I was recently named May 2016 Employee of the Month. In the clinical setting, I specialize in the heart and lungs. FUN!

I also started a business called Mountain View Home Care, LLC about 2 years ago. We’re dedicated to offering attendant care and homemaker services to the elders and individuals all across Arizona who may need assistance.


I’ve always been one to encourage people to go out and do what they love. Some times all a person really needs is some inspiration in their life to help them get to the next chapter. Knowing this, I started an Instagram page hoping to motivate my people and myself. What started out as posting little notes to myself, ended up being an account many people come to to seek motivation. Now my Instagram posts have been seen and reposted by many indigenous people around the world. Instagram: gm.davis (formerly: runawaygtrain)

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?      

I try to spend whatever free time I have with my nieces and nephews. I’m often away at work for 7+ days a time, and it’s hard. I do miss them. I’m just thankful they’re very understanding and forgiving kids. Besides that, I try to practice my photography. I’m self taught, but I love it!


Looking for uplifting content in your Instagram feed? Follow Galena at @gm.davis (formerly @runawaygtrain).


When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

When I’m silently praying in the ER code room standing next to and helping a critical patient. At that moment in time, I am focused on them, only them. Time stops and I feel nothing, the only thing I’m doing is trying to keep them alive and praying for a positive outcome.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

Stop and smell the sage. There’s no rush.


What direction would you like your life to take from here?

I’ve always had this Dr. Annie Dodge Wauneka mentality. She once said, “I’ll go and do more.” So if God permits, by all means, I will go and do more. I’d like to do more for the youth, our elders, and for those wanting to further their college education. I want to give away scholarships. I want to start businesses to aid and better my community. I don’t want to just settle… because the next generation is watching.


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Celebrate the Summer Solstice with Schmooze

Monday June 20, 20166-8PMLuna Culture Lab

A founding belief of schmooze is there are great lessons to be learned when women connect. Since the start of schmooze, we have envisioned hosting in-person events where women could come together to meet both who we’ve featured but also each other. It is with this idea, that we are thrilled to announce our inaugural event coinciding with the Summer Solstice on Monday, June 20, 2016, 6-8pm. The schmooze women love the energy of summer and thought it was the best time to launch our festive event and we hope you will join us.

We have invited the women we have featured previously on schmooze’s podcast and in profiles as well as friends and people we admire in the community. The event will be hosted by the Luna Culture Lab at Torres Multicultural Communications. Schmooze is thankful to have this sponsorship support from a premiere women-owned business. Many thanks to owner, Tania Torres and her incredibly helpful team for their assistance with our event.

Our gorgeous invitation artwork was created by the talented hands of Natalia Green. We are so grateful to have her work be the “look” of our event. As proud desert dwellers, we enjoy our summers here in the valley of the sun, so Natalia’s drawing has perfectly captured the whimsy of the season and our event. Natalia will be one of the featured artists sharing their creativity and work at the event. We will also have music and door prizes, so be sure to save the date and join us as we celebrate the start of summer and the beginning of new schmooze adventures!

This event is all about connecting, so we encourage everyone to bring flyers, business cards of passions projects you want to share with others at the event. We can’t wait to meet you all and thank you so much for helping us continue the work of schmooze. See you on the Summer Solstice!


p/s – We created a new vlog to share the fun, check it out, share it and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel!


Tagged , , , , , , ,

schmooze profile: Melanie Fey & Amber McCrary


Native Zinetress creators Amber McCrary (left) and Melanie Fey (right) at the Portland Zine Symposium.


Melanie Fey & Amber McCrary


MF: Flagstaff, Arizona

AM: Flagstaff, Arizona

Favorite Arizona place:

MF: My favorite place is my dad’s house, way on the outskirts of Flagstaff, during moonless summer nights. It’s so warm out and if you lay outside on the picnic table, you can see all the stars and the Milky Way perfectly. Seriously, I think I saw a UFO once. It was crazy. But it’s also beautiful, seeing the stars the way they’re meant to be seen, without all the light pollution, at 8,000ft.

AM: The Canyons at my Grandma’s sheep camp (Shonto, AZ)

Favorite drink:

MF: Coconut water is the bestest.

AM: Arnold Palmer

Favorite local project:

MF: Portland, OR (which is where I currently live) has so much to offer, where do I even begin? One Flaming Arrow: Inter-tribal Indigenous Art, Music and Film Festival is relatively new but absolutely revolutionary. It’s an annual festival during the summer that showcases Indigenous resistance and survivance type art and media made by Native artists. Demian DinéYazhi, Kaila Ferrell-Smith and Carlee Smith organize this amazing event. They will probably be opening up the application process soon so that’s something for Indigenous artists to keep an eye out for. Unchaste Readers is a reading series that highlights raw and unfiltered prose and poetry read by local female authors. It’s organized by Jenny Forrester and takes place every few months. There are just so many local projects that I love here in Portland but I could write about that for hours so I’ll just stop here.

AM: Wasted Ink Zine Distro. They are a zine distro/shop based out of Tempe Arizona. It is a cute little shop filled with zines from all over the country. It’s a great place to stop by and look at DIY items like buttons, zines, bags and comics. It’s a lot of fun to see that creativity should not be limited to just those few, I like the idea that anyone can publish anything they feel or want due to DIY Zine culture.




Amber McCrary


Spinning or yoga?

MF: Definitely yoga! Although I wish I could do it more often because it helps me to de-stress! And what’s this spinning thing? I keep hearing about it. Does it have to do with bikes?

AM: Yoga!

What was your first real job?

MF: My first real job was at a movie theater. I had to show up in a white button down shirt (usually covered in popcorn butter stains), suspenders and a shiny blue tie and cummerbund.  When I wasn’t sweeping the floors of theaters and throwing away half-finished sodas, I was at the concession stand begrudgingly asking customers if they’d like to upsize their orders. I only lasted 3 months.

AM: My first real job was working at a thrift store in Flagstaff called Savers. It’s still one of the best jobs I’ve had, I loved the idea of finding all these great fashion finds for less than $10. It was a fun outlet to be creative and I had a lot of great weird co-workers. Actually, that is how I officially discovered Feminism because one of my supervisors was a radical feminist.

Chemawa Reading 2015

Melanie Fey at a poetry reading she did for Chemawa Indian School and Williamette University students.

How do you describe the work you do?

MF: I’m a library minion at Multnomah County Library; your tax dollars hard at work. Seriously though, I love books.

AM: I work with Indigenous Youth in the Valley.

What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?

MF: I try to spend as much quality time with my cats as possible. Their names are Spike and Hades and I think they often get mad at me for spending so much time working and writing. Always got to check in with my fur-babies though, make sure they’re doing alright.

AM: I try to run. I actually really don’t like running but it balances me out in terms of stress, appetite and mood. Basically, running keeps me out of my crazy tree. Even 30 minutes of running a day is hard for me but at the end of the day I feel lighter and sleep better.

When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?

MF: When I get into my writing zone, that’s when I’m in my element and it can be really hard to snap me out of it. Seriously, I get this crazy look on my face when I’m really getting into either my poetry, short stories or zine work. I even wear a writing bonnet sometimes, this crazy looking wolf scarf thing. When I have that on, that’s when I mean business.

AM: I feel I’m most in my element or zone when I’m listening to music, writing, reading or working with people.

What advice do you have for your younger self?

MF: Remember to breathe kid! And don’t compromise your true self in order to fit in. It’s not worth it.

AM: It gets better.

What direction would you like your life to take from here?

MF: More travel? Yes, please! Write a novel? Yes, please! Travel writer? Yes, please!

AM: I would like to continue working with the Native American community, go to Graduate school and continue doing this writing project with my zine husband, Melanie.


To purchase a copy of Native Zinestress, visit their Etsy store in the coming days as they will be selling the third installment of their zine, “Shik’is ShiHeart”. More information HERE.


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

leap into self-love

As Leap Day approaches, we thought it was the perfect reason to challenge ourselves to take a leap. In our new vlog we share why we are on top of a mountain and how we’ll be taking more time for self-care this Leap Year.

Share your LEAP into self-care via Instagram (you can tag us @schmoozelc) or Facebook using the #schmoozeselfcare. We look forward to seeing your adventures.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Conversation on Immigration with Lisette Flores


schmooze was founded to shed light on the remarkable work of women in Arizona. We envisioned this podcast as a way to share the stories of women in the community. Due to the recent news coverage regarding the influx of children crossing into the United States, we wanted to have a conversation about the misconceptions of the immigration debate and the housing of children in the Arizona town of Nogales.

This episode we welcome Lisette Flores, J.D. an alumnus of Arizona State University and long standing community volunteer. Flores has practiced law for nearly ten years having shifted her focus, a little over two years ago to serving as an immigration attorney. As shared in our conversation with Flores her passion for her work comes from her strong family foundation. Shown even more as Flores waits to welcome her first child into her family. Schmooze is excited to document this moment as Flores reflects on her work in Arizona at a critical time in her life as she readies to take on her next venture – motherhood.

Click on the badge above to listen to the episode or visit HERE.


Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Episode 4: Mama’s Day


schmooze was founded on the idea all women are remarkable. We started this podcast because we wanted to share the stories of inspiring women we’ve had the pleasure to meet. Foundational to our lives are our relationships to our moms. Debra Perez and Karina Roessel are two women who have instilled in us a strong sense of self but also pride in being women.

In this episode, we sit down to have a conversation with our moms. Two selfless women who have worked hard to create and sustain our families while cultivating careers in education. We are delighted to share these two women with you as they are nothing short of remarkable. Thanks Mamas…for everything.

To listen click the badge below.

photo4 FINAL

Music “Fake French” by Le Tigre
Available on the Free Music Archive freemusicarchive.org/
Under CC BY license

Tagged , , , , ,