Beyond the River Walk

by Oscar Castillo

Our grand Gateway City is oftentimes compared to our neighboring cities, especially in the summer when school is out and vacations are nigh. A popular outing destination for Laredoans seeking something a bit out of the routine is the ever-busy San Antonio. Here, we’ll cover some fun options for anyone heading over this summer.

The most obvious hotspot for San Antonio is its legendary and renowned River Walk. The walk consists of a historical and scenic tour of the heart of the city along a beautiful urban waterway. Walk along while visiting the popular shops and restaurants surrounding the area, or hop aboard a water taxi and have a relaxing time as you float along the horizon.

What truly makes San Antonio shine is the variety of attractions it houses within the city such as its popular amusement and water parks like Six Flags and Splashtown, or its natural tourist destinations such as the Natural Bridge Caverns, an underground system of explorable caves, or its botanical gardens, great options for a date. For animal lovers, Sea World offers a great way to experience marine life, and the many museums and arts centers offer a more eclectic view of the world.

Of course, one of the hottest parts of San Antonio is its bustling nightlife. Whether downtown or along the River Walk, there are dozens upon dozens of choice eateries, clubs, and bars from which to choose from. Forget you live in a small town for a night and dance the night away surrounded by lively strangers all there for one thing: to party. San Antonio is just a blast to explore. Find its many hidden gems next time you’re in the neighborhood.



The city houses popular amusement and water parks like Six Flags and Splashtown, and  natural tourist destinations such as the Natural Bridge Caverns.

LCC Named as the #1 Community College Nursing Program in Texas


Laredo Community College is honored to receive the stellar designation of being the number one community college nursing program in Texas.  Additionally, of the 116 nursing programs available in Texas to become a registered nurse, the LCC Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program has been selected by as the seventh-best nursing program in the state among colleges and universities. is an online resource dedicated to informing future and currently registered nurses on educational pathways and career opportunities in nursing.

As they stated on their website, “We are firm believers in providing students with all the information possible to make the right choice when selecting a nursing school.”

The website ranked the top 50 nursing schools in Texas by analyzing current and previous National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) pass rates. Programs reviewed include schools offering an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, or a direct-entry Master of Science degree in Nursing. The study analyzed examination pass rates for the past five years.

“The outstanding ranking is a direct result of the quality instruction offered through LCC’s ADN program”, explained LCC Nursing Programs Director Dr. Dianna Miller.

“The Associate Degree Nursing faculty have worked diligently to provide an excellent Nursing Program for Laredo. As noted in the rankings, our program is exceptional. Besides the excellent NCLEX Passage Rates, we believe our graduates are outstanding, compassionate nurses,” said Dr. Miller.

Individuals interested in pursuing a career in a healthcare related field should consider the advantages offered by LCC’s Nursing Programs. For those interested in a career in nursing, prospective students can explore three different options, including the nursing assistant or vocational nursing certificate, or an associate degree in nursing.

After completing the programs and passing the national licensing exam, LCC graduates can begin working in the healthcare field anywhere in the United States after one or two years of study.

For more information, contact the LCC Community and Media Relations Office at (956) 721-5140 or visit

Doña Maclovia

by Jorge Santana

In the ranch where I grew up there were few neighbors, but one of them was Doña Maclovia and her strange family. Maclovia’s husband was a quiet, tall man, much older than her; a reserved man, sitting on a bench for hours, staring at nothingness, letting the days go by as if they were free. He always wore the same clothes, the same hair, the same look; a man that I thought was mute for many years, until one day he shouted in a low and hoarse voice, “watch out!” because there was a snake in the stable where I used to look for those little critters that dig holes in the earth to catch their victims, the famous “toritos,” small rhinoceros beetles. Maclovia was a short, dark, robust woman, with grayed hair, with huge breasts, which she unenticingly pressed against me upon her greetings, and also always the same clothes, or at least so I remember. Maclovia smelled like an old forgotten book. Her house was immense: two stories, with paint peeling off, which had once been a screeching green, but it was in deterioration, with a rusty gate, and some broken windows covered with duct tape. In the kitchen, to help out, Maclovia had set up a small shop, which had no ads other than a Coca-Cola sign outside the house. There was an old refrigerator that always shocked me horribly when I pulled out a cold, sweating apple soda, my favorite. Maclovia, apart from sodas and other dusty things, sold marshmallows. Sometimes they were very hard due to the months without anyone buying them, but it was the only sweet available in the inhospitable desert. Maclovia was the first to arrive at house wakes, those funerals where you could smell death because you had the deceased literally in front of you, without a box, sometimes on the floor, or in his own bed where he had died. Maclovia was a churchwoman; the first to arrive at mass, the last to leave. She hosted a nativity scene at her home, and she tucked and raised that baby Jesus: the only of her possessions that shone polished. She had roosters and a pig that accompanied me in nightmares, because once when I wanted to feed him, Maclo told me to be careful because he could bite my hand or eat me like the others. Maclovia sold burgers, stark and simple. She made the meat, and softened the hard bread with butter on the griddle. She finished it with simple slices of avocado, and accompanied with a soda, that hamburger tasted like glory in those forty-odd Celsius, I sat on the bench outside her kitchen to finish every bite.

One day, the dogs of the neighborhood, several of them, went blind. They kept running into trees and walls, blind and bleeding. Maclovia, so they wouldn’t get close to her chickens, had thrown boiling water on their eyes. When I found out, I never visited her again. I did not turn around to see her again; she became like a witch in my childhood mind. I did not let her hug me again and feel those huge breasts of a protective mother. Anyway, that’s just how this is dear reader.


Photographer Rolan Sanchez

by Oscar Perez

Rolan Sanchez, is a lifestyle and fashion photographer who captures the beauty of life with every photo he takes. He is an artist at heart that has tapped into creativity and believes you don’t need to get fancy about equipment to capture the moments. He loves telling stories with his photos and focuses on sharing the uniqueness of everyone and everything he “SHOOTS.” I caught up with him in late March to talk all about the art of photography, creativity, developing skills, and an insight to his journey so far.


Oscar Perez: Rolan! What’s up! Tell me what are you up to right now? Where am I catching you at?

Rolan: Oh man… I’m meeting a couple of deadlines right now for this monthly thing [Fashion Photography] that I do, as well as making final adjustments to some photos of a friend who is applying for the Hooters calendar. Also, helping out another friend with marketing material for the barbershop he just opened. And a bunch of other behind-the-scenes stuff like: framing prints, writing emails, and making sure I nap in between haha!

Awesome! Tell me, when was the first time you became aware of your creativity? How did you know photography was something you wanted to do?

I didn’t always want to be a photographer. I actually wanted to be a Marine Biologist. However, I remember I was online on the search engine, BING, and they had nature backgrounds [on their site] that I really liked. I was fascinated by them and wanted to find out how they were made. This is where it started. It was all about learning the technical side of photography first and the creative side of photography happened when I started working with Digital Republic [a creative studio] where I was given the “go ahead” by Jeffrey Castillo to do whatever I wanted when shooting behind the scenes. It gave me freedom.

Did you take any classes that helped with sparking your creativity?

As far as being creative, I didn’t take a class on it. Jumping back to being technical, I did take the basic art classes in high school and did learn a lot from that. I tied that in with photography, where they teach you about the color wheel, shapes, and lines. I learned the rules and then I learned how to break them.

Do you remember your first photo?

Yeah, a sunset at Lake Casa Blanca. Laredo has some of the nicest sunsets I have ever seen.

Nice! So, how long have you been a photographer?

Six years [Professionally]

What’s your photography style? What’s the one thing you are trying to capture right now?

My style constantly changes. For the past year, I have been sticking to the “raw” look on my photos. In my work you see a lot of reds. “Red and Edgy.”  Right now, I’ve been into portrait photography. I shoot a lot of fashion stuff.

What are you shooting with right now?

I’ve been shooting with the same DSLR camera that I started shooting with. It’s a Canon 60D. Believe it or not, I shoot a lot with my stock lens of 18-135mm. I also just purchased my first L series lens, Canon’s 50mm 1.2!

What’s in your camera bag?

My Canon 60D, 50mm 1.2, 10mm-22mm lens, and stock lens. I can travel with everything.

With portrait photography, what’s your vision for each photo?

So, everybody is different. Every time I shoot somebody….

Wait. (whispers) You SHOOT people?

Yeah, I SHOOT people every day, hahaha. Everybody is different. I connect my style with their personality when I take photos. My style comes in through the lighting and camera settings. Their personality comes in [with the actual photo]. They are usually nervous so I usually start a conversation to break the ice. That’s when I get their natural facial expressions.

Does the thought that you are “freezing” time come to mind when you are shooting people?

It does cross my mind. Capturing what the person looks like today to what they will look like in the future [or even if they will be here a year from now] does cross my mind.

Is there a certain routine you have for creating your art through photography?

When I shoot for fun, I do have a routine. I write down what my goal is for a photo. I usually write down 2 or 3 photos that I want to get for the day. I take it from there.

When have you pushed your skillset as a photographer?

I can say I adapt to what’s going on around me. I don’t necessarily push my skill but rather adapt to the environment. For example, New York is a fast paced city so I’ll use long exposure to show movement in my photos. I guess where I push myself is telling the story of what I’m doing in the moment. Adapting to the environment.

Tell me, how have you developed those skills that you use to adapt to the environments?

It’s a little of everything. YouTube, online articles, mentors, and experiences too! I go to YouTube for technical stuff like editing. I read articles on different stuff: color tones, framing, etc. For mentors, I have had two mentors. One for video and one for photography. I shadowed Jeffrey Castillo (DigitalJeff) for photography since I was 15. As far as experience, it’s important not to be afraid to make mistakes and put myself in different environments.

So, have you mastered it? Have you put in 10,000 hours of work with photography?

I don’t know. How many hours are in a year?

???????????? (Clueless.)


Moving on… haha. What has been the most challenging project or obstacle you have had?

I had a photographer’s worst nightmare happen. One of my monthly clients’ photos were due and a day before the deadline I lost my SD card. I had to redo the photoshoot the day of the deadline in the morning. The client was understandable, but I was pissed at myself.

Wow! How does one fix that with a client? How did you do it?

Be straight up. Own it and communicate with the person who is in charge with the truth. Don’t sugar coat anything. At the end of the day, no one cares about the details other than “when will it be done?”

Truth. Thanks for sharing that bro! Tell me what has been the photo you’ve shot that you like the most?

A photo of my Grandpa that was taken a couple of months before he got Alzheimer’s. In this picture, he still recognized who I was. It’s a strong photo.

So, what’s one piece of advice you would give someone who wants to start with photography?

SHOOT. Hehehe. Go out and shoot. Super simple and cliché. If you want to learn photography, don’t worry about the equipment you are using. A simple stock lens and a DSLR [camera] will do the job. Also, don’t expect to get paid for everything. However, don’t do anything for free either.

What do you think of the photography community in Laredo?

There’s a new group on Facebook called Photographer’s Pit. I’m not too involved with the actual community so I can’t tell you how big it is. I can tell you that I have noticed there are a lot of up-and-coming photographers from high school.

How important do you think it is for a photographer to have a community of photographers around them?

It helps you because you learn from different people. It can also be bad because some people start seeing it as competition. Competition isn’t really important because everyone has their own style in photography.

Hey man, so tell me about social media. Is that something you are using to get your work out there?

I don’t really post but I do love using Instagram for inspiration. I follow my favorite photographers on there.

Where can we find your work?

I post a lot on my Instagram [Story] and they can follow my work on my website where I have my blog where I share life experiences, how-tos, and behind the scenes of my photo shoots. I am also shooting a personal vlog nowadays.

Is there anything coming up here in the near future that you are excited about?

Yes! Last year, I launched my business Flux Photo & Video. I am looking forward to a destination wedding that we booked and is coming up soon. Stay tuned for a behind the scenes of that experience.

That is awesome! Well Rolan, thanks for meeting with me today and for sharing your story with our audience! I’m sure your journey will inspire others to grab a camera and SHOOT some people… and places… and things!


Don’t forget to follow Rolan’s journey on social media: @Rolan_Sanch and keep up with his work on his website!


Oscar Perez


A twist on a classic….

by Fernanda Alvarado

Laredo’s spring temperatures are making their way into the city and they are finally here to stay! That means that sundresses, sunglasses, and all kinds of sandals are on call for everyday use. It also means that the city will be needing lots and lots of refreshing drinks to keep up with the warmer weather.

You can never go wrong with an Arnold Palmer, or as it is more commonly known, a half and half. Half sweet tea and half lemonade, this drink mixes all that is tart from a lemonade and all that is sweet from traditional Texas sweet tea making for an invigorating drink.

Chef Richard Mims specifically enjoys peach Arnold Palmers on hot Laredo days. It was this small pleasure in his life that inspired Trattoria Mia’s newest creation: a spiked Arnold Palmer. Of course, there are different variations of this drink but what makes this Arnold Palmer stand out is the fact that the drink itself contains nothing artificial.

Chef Mims shook limoncello, Tito’s vodka, peach simple syrup, and fresh squeezed lemon juice and poured it over ice. He then carefully layered the sweet iced tea over top to create the classic lemonade and sweet tea divide. This drink is perfect for a hot day spent with family and friends eating delicious food.

Something as decadent as the plates Trattoria Mia offers deserve to be accompanied with a drink specially selected from their new drink menu. Trattoria Mia now has several vodkas, whiskeys, bourbons, and most other liquors you’d expect to find. Plus, Chef Mims is always ready to create new and never before tried concoctions so stop by Trattoria Mia for a taste unlike anywhere else.

Visit Trattoria Mia at 3402 E. Del Mar Blvd., (956) 568-3536.

Make your tastebuds dance…

by Fernanda Alvarado

From kitchen to table, Chef Sabas Martinez makes sure that every dish that comes out of his kitchen is perfected before reaching his customers. For this piece, Chef Martinez created a stuffed trout on a bed of risotto and bacon wrapped asparagus.

Originally from Torreon, Coahuila, Chef Martinez grew up watching his grandmother cook food the way no one else could. He’s been in Laredo for years learning from every chef he’s worked with to learn new techniques and create his own touch. For this dish, his inspiration goes back to his roots: his grandmother. “Of course, it isn’t the same because she was better, but I try to make it similar,” Chef Martinez chuckled.

He starts off creating the risotto cooking it slowly over a medium heat with some chicken broth, salt, and pepper. Then he goes on to blanch the asparagus and immediately after shocks it in ice water. Three asparagus are rolled into one with a piece of bacon and roasted to brown the bacon. Lastly, Chef Martinez takes a special blend of paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper and spreads it over the butterflied trout. He then adds the crab to the spice mixture. He takes it to the oven at 450 degrees for about five to seven minutes. To add the finishing touch, as soon as the trout is out of the oven, Chef Martinez adds butter and sea salt and places it under the broiler so that the crispy skin can be the first bite you get. For an added flavor, he finishes it off with a lemon sauce with chopped garlic and butter over top.

Chef Martinez recommends patrons to eat the trout with the skin. Eating the skin of a fish might not sound appealing, but trout is one of the few fish where eating the skin is okay. Plus, with it being crispy, buttery, and sea-salty it is probably the best part of the dish…TRUST US!

Chef Martinez and his team at Border Foundry make sure that everyone that walks through the restaurant doors feels their visit has been the best they’ve had. Every dish is made with attention and to perfection.

Pay them a visit at 7718 McPherson Rd, you won’t regret it!

History in the heart of Laredo

by Fernanda Alvarado

In historic downtown Laredo, there exists a nook that not many think about. A couple of blocks away from the notable San Agustin Cathedral, there sits a building with a long line of history and tradition.

The Tack Room, owned by the Fasken family and part of La Posada Hotel, has served different purposes throughout the years. It was the first telephone exchange building serving both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo just eight years after Alexander Graham Bell obtained the first telephone patent. It was then a fully operational restaurant since 1982 when it was purchased and converted into a steakhouse.

When you first walk through the saloon style doors, you will be transported back in time. To the left, there is a curved bar with a smooth wooden table top facing a great stained glass picture of jockeys and horse racing. Decorating each side of the bar are the shelves of scotch, bourbon, whiskey, and cognac making the perfect setting to a night filled with laughter, liquor, and luxury. This is the Tack Room, a restaurant that has witnessed history and served celebrities throughout the years.

The legend goes that back in the days, the Tack Room, a lovely Victorian style home, used to serve as the meeting point for the late former Mayor Aldo Tatangelo and friends who would go to Nuevo Laredo and place bets at the horse races in the Hipodromo racetrack. After the races, they’d come back to the Tack Room and drink liquor, smoke cigars, and eat good food.

Surf and Turf, like every dish on the menu is prepared to perfection by Executive Chef Armando Paredes.

By definition, a tack room is a room in a stable building where saddles, bridles, and other equipment are kept. As such, the Tack Room has kept everything in their establishment as authentic as possible while providing excellent customer service to everyone that walks through their doors. Just ask Don Manuel, who’s served at the Tack Room for twenty-five years and has every customer asking for his special, one of a kind customer service.

The Tack Room prides itself in being the most unique steakhouse in the entire state. They have served Laredo for thirty-six years with always fresh ingredients and top of the line beef. With a veranda that overlooks one of the oldest and most historic plazas in Texas, San Agustin Plaza, this legendary restaurant stands out as one of the best.

Executive Chef Armando Paredes prepares each dish as it is ordered and makes sure each dish is prepared to perfection. Tack Room’s most popular dish is their succulent prime rib eye with a side of creamy mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley. However, their updated menu offers customers a selection of gourmet sauces that combine subtle, savory flavors with steaks that melt in your mouth.

Add to that a selection of fine wines, a salad bar that is always crisp and fresh and exceptional service and you’ve got a combination that’s an easy winner over any other steak-slinging establishment.

With the complimentary valet parking and delicious food, there is no excuse not to try the best steakhouse in town!

Ask Why!

by Oscar Saucedo


I wish I had the time to help all those people I see blindly following bad advice and believing fitness myths.  But I’ll promise to try if you promise to ASK WHY next time someone is giving you advice on your fitness routine.  A knowledgeable person will always be able to tell you exactly why he or she believes their advice is good.  Here is a short list of some of the myths I see too often believed in Laredo:

If you are sweating, you are burning fat. This myth is why I see people using the sauna as their “cardio”, wearing the plastic sweat suits (or saran wrap, or fajas), and/or running in the streets of Laredo in 115°F weather.  As you sweat, you are really only losing water and electrolytes.  That can eventually lead to dehydration—and that is the opposite of what you want.  To burn the most fat, you must remain properly hydrated.  You don’t have to sweat to lose fat, and you aren’t necessarily burning fat just because you are sweating.

Women should not lift heavy weights.  This myth is the reason I hear “I don’t want to get too big”.  But lifting heavy weight is the best way to slim down!  You will lose fat size so much faster than you will put on muscle size. Those fitness models you might look up to didn’t get that way lifting light weight.  I understand that the vast majority of women do not want to have manly amounts of muscle.  But that is actually rare.  Most women will never be overly muscular, no matter how heavy they lift or how much they eat.

Protein powder makes you gain weight.  Eating too many donuts and other high-calorie foods makes you gain weight.  But protein powder can be a low calorie alternative to a regular meal.  You can think of it as a “high-tech food”.  By that, I mean that it’s designed to deliver a high amount of benefit using a low amount of calories.  That benefit is more than just gaining muscle size.  Very few people actually want to build huge muscles, but all of us want our entire body to be fully recovered and energized.

If you stop working out, the muscle you build turns to fat.  Fat is fat and muscle is muscle.  They don’t transform into one another.  So if you’ve built a good amount of muscle and you stop working out, your muscles will probably shrink and you will probably gain some fat to cover up that muscle, but your muscle does not turn into fat.

Use light weights to increase definition.  No.  This comes from people that say they just want to “tone up”.  But that toned look comes from increasing muscle size and lowering body fat.  You should have a clear plan to accomplish both goals.  By simply choosing an easy weight to lift, you aren’t toning up. You are just going through the motions, counting reps, and likely not seeing much change in your body.

To get abs, you must do tons of ab work.  Ab work is good for you.  It strengthens your core, improves posture, and can help reduce back injuries.  But doing ab work works the muscles of your front mid-section.  You really aren’t doing anything about those layers of fat covering your abs.  Everyone has ab muscles.  But you must shed the fat over the abs using a good diet and cardio routine.  There’s no way around that.

With so much good information available on demand at your fingertips, ignorance is a choice.  I’ll never know how these myths start.  But I do know that bad information is common everywhere.  Don’t be too shy to ask why.  If the reason doesn’t make sense to you, do your research.


Impact Igniteris the newest preworkout energizer from Allmax Nutrition.  It has a full 6g of citrulline malate, 3.2g of beta alanine, and 1000mg of L-Carnitine L-Tartrate.  This preworkout is more than just stimulants.  This has useful preworkout nutrition that helps you get more out of your workout.  Get a few extra repetitions, better blood flow, and use more fat energy with Impact Igniter.

Lose Your Cellulite, Lose Your Inhibitions

by Oscar Castillo


Summer is fast approaching, and there’s no better remedy for the heat than a fun day at the beach. However, there is one thing that keeps millions of individuals from showing up in their favorite swimsuit; insecurity about their body. Predominantly, this is something a lot of women face due to the presence of cellulite. However, there is renewed hope for everyone out there facing this hurdle.

Cellulite is a condition that millions face, and it consists of creased, wrinkled, or lumpy skin mostly in the abdomen, thighs, and buttocks regions. Cellulite takes place when fibers in our muscles interact with the layers of fat between them. This clash leads skin to look uneven, dimpled, and rough. Cellulite can appear in all body types, and although it is more often seen in women, men can suffer it as well. Although often not a serious condition, it can cause embarrassing marks on the skin, which to some, is catalyst for insecurity.

However, there is a special procedure here to help with the condition. It is known as Acoustic Wave Therapy. Not only does it help reduce cellulite, but fat as well. The therapy involves the use of sound waves and is non-invasive, meaning no knives or needles are involved. With the use of a device, therapy professionals are able to target and deliver these waves directly to affected tissue. The resonance helps for the release and flowing of clogs in the skin, excess toxins, and water, leaving in their place smooth, soft skin.

However, not only is the therapy beneficial for cosmetic purposes, but for treating chronic pain and muscular injuries as well. The waves alleviate and loosen up knotted skin, allowing for a variety of uses for sports injuries. By accelerating the body’s natural healing processes, this procedure is beneficial for most body types, although caution should be taken when a patient is pregnant, epileptic, or has an existing skin coagulation or hormonal condition. Definitely check with a physician before opting for this therapy.

The effects of the therapy can last for months, although individual results may vary. With little side effects, it’s a treatment that is too good to pass up on. This summer, don’t be afraid to dust off that cute bathing suit that is sitting in your closet. Wear it proud and be happy with your skin. Lose those inhibitions and don’t let cellulite keep you from that perfect beach moment.

Contour Center is located at Madero 2159 in Nuevo Laredo, +52 (867) 713-6797,

Venus Legacy in Laredo

The Venus Legacy™ is your best option for combating stubborn fat areas. It combines VariPulse™ technology with our proven 3D™ MP2 energy, causing it to travel deeper into the skin resulting in increased blood circulation, immediate plumping, and glowing skin. Results can be seen in as little as one treatment – no pain, discomfort or downtime!

Using patented (MP)² technology, Venus Legacy utilizes multi-polar radio frequency and Pulsed Magnetic fields which produce a soothing and therapeutic heat matrix over the skin. Skin tightening, wrinkle reduction and cellulite reduction occur because the multi-polar radio frequency causes a thermal reaction in the tissue which stimulates the body’s natural healing response. This restoring response causes the skin to contract, achieving tighter skin, softening of wrinkles .

What is it like to have a treatment? As you lay comfortably on a treatment bed, the technician will apply a treatment gel to the skin. This lotion helps the applicator glide on the surface of your skin. The correct size applicator is selected and the treatment provider will then begin to apply smooth and consistent movements on the surface of the skin. This feels like a wonderful warm massage. We encourage our patients to close their eyes and take this time to just relax and enjoy the quiet and focused time for them.

Skintology staff advises patients that Venus Legacy treatments are non-surgical and relatively pain-free with most patients comparing the treatment to a hot-stone massage. One treatment lasts approximately 30 to 40 minutes and the length of time depends on the area of the body being treated. Skintology staff, further advises that most patients will see results as time passes and the treatments increase. He recommends 6 Venus Legacy treatments to the face, 8 for the neck and 10 for the body.

If you would like toned and tightened skin without surgery and in a pain-free environment visit Skintology Spa, located at 3402 E. Del Mar Blvd. Suite. #200, (956) 727-0950,