October marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month and to bring attention to this important issue, we caught up with Carol Minchew, a volunteer with Sojourner Center, a Phoenix-based domestic violence shelter founded in 1977. “Sojourner Center has been at the forefront of providing outstanding services to victims, their children, and recently, their pets, fleeing the trauma of both physical and verbal/mental abuse,” she says. Retired from a successful interior design career that spanned 40 years, Minchew is the mother of two grown children and four “amazing” grandchildren and has been married to her second husband, Weldon, for 48 years.

When Phoenix attorney Avery Crossman started volunteering with Home ‘Fur’ Good no-kill animal shelter five years ago, she intended to help the organization write grants because she thought working in the shelter would be too sad. “That lasted maybe a week,” she says. “I discovered that Home Fur Good, as a true no-kill shelter, is not a sad place. The staff and volunteers are happy and the shelter is clean, bright and fresh.”

Crossman, who has been practicing Arizona workers' compensation law since 1994, has adopted two dogs from Home ‘Fur’ Good and now serves as the organization’s board president.

Summertime, it seems safe to say, is here, and with it the summer blockbuster movie season. But if you’re not in the mood for superheroes or dinosaurs, have no fear: There are more offbeat, lower-profile movie-going options open to you. Here are a few:

Last year, David Ira Goldstein retired as artistic director of Arizona Theatre Company after 25 years of breathing life into 190 main-stage plays, workshops and presentations in Phoenix and Tucson. It seems he couldn't stay away for long: Goldstein is returning to direct The Diary of Anne Frank, now through May 12 in Tucson at Temple of Music and Art; and May 17-June 3 at Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. PHOENIX magazine recently caught up with Goldstein to ask him what he's been up to in pseudo-retirement and how he prepared for his latest production.

(Editor's note: Answers have been edited for clarity.)

Brought to the Arizona Humane Society by a Good Samaritan, little Maui was wandering around a Phoenix neighborhood with a hurt leg. She received knee surgery at AHS’ Second Chance Animal Trauma Hospital and recovered at home with a foster. Maui is now available for adoption at AHS’ Oldtown Scottsdale PetSmart location off of Miller and Camelback.

The heat is on – speaking climate-ly and biologically. Spring brings warmer temperatures and that means an abundance of kittens and puppies being born. Due to Phoenix's nearly year-round warmth, the Valley is basically always in breeding season, which sadly means even more abandoned or feral babies.

Inspired by the Asian night markets that have found mega-popularity in Los Angeles and New York, two bold Phoenix entrepreneurs are importing the concept to the Valley. PHX Night Market, a two-night multicultural festival, hits Phoenix Public Market this weekend, April 21-22.

The concept is the brainchild of Tony Ce, owner of Snoh Ice Shavery, and Cindy Louie of Go Studio Go. Collaborating with the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce, Ce and Louie are focused on establishing an "Asian influenced and Phoenix foodie inspired" event in the Valley that celebrates cultural diversity, cuisine, music and community.

You know the saying, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone"? Cliche as it is, I've never felt the truth of that sentiment so profoundly as I have these last few months... And for a place I used to curse for its heat. I left Phoenix at the beginning of the year, moving across the country to D.C. for my husband's job. Though I've been enjoying exploring a new city – the free museums, new restaurants and new culture have been perks; there isn't a day that goes by without me missing the warm spring months of my old desert home.

Logo by Jared Oxdx Yazzie, via Facebook.

Most children learn about Christopher Columbus in grade school as the brave guy who “discovered” the Americas and brought exotic spices to the new world. He sailed the ocean blue in 1492, as the saying goes. A year later, he would also land on the island that is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic, enslave the natives, and bring European diseases that would reduce the population from 8 million to 22,000, according to Indians Are Us?: Culture and Genocide in Native North America by Ward Churchill.

That doesn’t flow off the tongue as well, though.

Apparently there's nothing that doesn't pair well with yoga. This past year, Phoenix has welcomed yoga with goats, yoga with cats, yoga on paddleboards, and now... yoga with booze. This "fitness" trend (and we say "fitness" with a massive grain of salt because surely, replenishing your body with booze after a sweat sesh is not really healthy, per se) is good news for all those who've ever thought, "You know what sounds good right now? A beer," while in flying locus. Still, a leisurely morning or afternoon spent in feel-good asanas followed by a refreshing cocktail sounds downright lovely as the temps around the Valley finally begin cooling off. Below, a variety of places offering one-hour classes for a low fee and the opportunity to sip delicious craft cocktails, beers or mimosas afterwards. Grab your mats.

“Dieciséis de Septiembre” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as “Cinco de Mayo,” but when you’ve been oppressed by the Spanish for a century too long, potential holiday names for the future are not the biggest priority.

Some gringos may think Cinco de Mayo is synonymous with Mexican Independence Day, but in reality the two are separate occasions. In fact, the latter is not nearly as festive or margarita-filled in the United States, even though it’s a much bigger deal for our neighbors to the south.

Cinco de Mayo, actually a minor holiday in Mexico, celebrates the unlikely Mexican victory over French forces in 1862 at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War.

Mexican Independence Day, on the other hand, commemorates the day a Catholic priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla called on his people to free themselves from Spanish rule in 1810. This day marked the start of a revolt that would trigger the Mexican War of Independence. It’s a huge event – there are parades, festivals and el grito (the cry) for independence in town squares across the country. In the United States and here in Phoenix, where at least 28 percent of our population is of Mexican descent? Not so much.

Feel free to mark the occasion with guacamole, though—there’s nothing wrong with celebrating some centuries-old victoria mexicana with some good food. Or go the extra mile at these events around the Valley celebrating this Saturday, September 16: