A Safe Haven For Bees

By Fernanda Alvarado

Honey has been a staple in many households for as long as anyone can remember. People have been using it to treat different conditions, sweeten teas, in baking, and even as an agent to repair damaged hair. But! The best way to enjoy honey is where you can eat it as is. It truly is a miracle product!

La Gorra Azul Ranch partners with many different local businesses that use their honey for different plates. Lolita’s Restaurant showcases honey from La Gorra Azul on their menu. There are caterers that only purchase honey from La Gorra Azul because customers only prefer their honey over anyone else’s. Even doctors have been purchasing their honey!

La Gorra Azul Ranch is a safe haven for bees. Owners George and Tracy Mapus keep bees safe and protected and doing what they do best, collecting nectar and making honey. What began as a family tradition quickly became a hobby and now a side business.

La Gorra Azul produces 4 to 5 distinct honeys depending on the different blooms: Chaparro Prieto, Mesquite Honey, Mastranso, Quebradora, and Wildflower Honey

Each of these categories have their own distinct flavor and smell. The most popular one has to be the Mesquite Honey, but if you like something a bit more spicy with an herbal scent that overtakes your palette then a Mastranso honey is right up your alley. The Quebradora honey comes from the white brush that blooms and it is really good. Everyone has their favorites. Whatever the taste may be, nothing beats the benefits of unprocessed, raw honey.

According to George, the bees eat whatever is on the land. They are not given anything that they don’t make. What is sold is what is harvested; 100% pure raw honey.

Bewitching Legends

by Jorge Santana

In the tours that I host for my historical neighborhood of San Pedro, there is a place that calls my attention in particular. It’s a small, round, a very strangely shaped hut. It is a tour of myths, a tour of terror; not one of historical accuracy, although legends tend to become history for better or for worse. The legend (like many myths), hides a background of “objective” reality far away. I like that contrast, sometimes I think I’ve managed to survive solely because I can live in that middle point of twilight, between legend and reality, between fantasy and the dull truth. Well, when I walk past the house, with megaphone in hand and a line of people behind me, I begin to tell the legend. “In that round house, they say, an African witch lived, in the mid-1800s when the black soldiers called the “Buffalo Soldiers” arrived at Fort McIntosh (now the Laredo Community College) were a cavalry that came to this border to defend the gringos from the Indians. It is said that this woman practiced black magic in that little hut, from draining the blood of goats and chickens, to performing macabre potions with the hair or breeches of the white soldiers, oppressors of the Afro soldiers.” People get excited with the story, except for the owner of the house, who once chased us off her sidewalk with the spray of her hose. It is understandable: the woman rents that little house, and if the tenants knew they were sleeping on an old river of haunted blood, they would want to move from there. The point of all this is that I like to think about what will happen to us when we are dead. What will they say about us, about our lives, what legends are we forming without knowing, and about how many legends are we being part of? I can already imagine: “In that house they say, lived a man who wrote poems and whatnot. They say that he killed himself because he was never able to live off his writing.” Well, that’s what they would say, when in fact I died because they hit me with a car, or due to some disease, or perhaps by spontaneous human combustion, or gods only know what exactly will happen to me. Someday, someone will rent my house and the new owner will run them off with “manguerazos” for walking by saying that under the orchid tree hung the previous owner (me) for ingesting poorly prepared toloache. I do not know if that witch lived there, if it really happened what they say happened, but when I walk down that sidewalk, I do it just a little bit faster, dear reader.

 

Sculpt perfection into your skin

by Oscar Castillo

Laser technology has advanced tremendously over the past decade. Lasers can not only be used for security purposes, but also as valuable tools for everyday life. They can be as strong as to cut through diamond, or gentle enough to treat one’s skin. In Laredo, Skintology prides itself in keeping up with the new and growing demands. Added to the many items on their repertoire, laser skin care can be checked off, coming in the shape of Skin Resurfacing.

Resurfacing is the process of removing imperfections from the skin with the use of laser treatment. Some of these imperfections include, sun damage, acne marks, blotches, wrinkles, scars, and even age lines. This involves an outpatient procedure, meaning it will not require overnight stay or lengthy recovery time. It is a simple, non-invasive surgery that can have almost immediate results. The process works by the laser beams heating the deep layers of the skin. This, accompanied by pulses, touch on any unwanted pigmentation and blood vessels, smoothening or eliminating them altogether.

Regarding results, these usually include smoother, softer, clearer, and more vibrant skin. Although results can be seen soon after the procedure, it is usually best to follow up with a couple more sessions to ensure that the effects are more effective and lasting. Although it is usually implemented on facial skin, it can be applied to other parts of the skin as well.

Due to so many benefits, it is almost too good not to try this procedure. However, for better results, and for more detailed information on the procedure, it is always better to make an appointment with a physician or dermatologist beforehand. At Skintology, they can help guide patrons to ensure that every safety precaution is taken, and that the procedure is right for them. The best part is that this treatment is all offered locally, so there is no need to travel outside the city to get treated like royalty.

Skintology Spa is located at  3402 E. Del Mar Blvd. Suite. #200, (956) 727-0950, www.skintologyspa.com

Owners of Cultura Beer Garden

By Maria Salas

Meet one half of a whole. Chris Contreras and Benny Contreras are two-fourths owners of Cultura Beer Garden. Their favorite past time, out of the many they have, is to have a good beer after a long day of work, which is perfect for their hobby turned business. Chris and Benny, along with their better halves, began their business from an opportunity that presented itself spontaneously. From the beginning, they have focused on bringing something new, different, and good to Laredo.

Cultura Beer Garden is a bar dedicated to offering non-traditional beer options to the community. They work with local Texas breweries to bring something new to the table. One of the things that makes them stand out from the rest is that they do weekly webisodes through their social media. Benny uses his hobby of audio and video technology to piece together videos to connect the community to Cultura Beer Garden. Chris is the one that stands in front of the camera talking about the hobby he knows best: beer.

When they’re not being beer gurus, Chris and Benny spend their time relaxing from their busy schedules. Chris enjoys riding his bike and playing music. Benny likes to drink beer and spend time with good friends eating good food, but as a true audio-video guy, he loves to play video games to unwind.

They’ve learned that working as a team is what makes Cultura Beer Garden such a success. Their most important and resounding advice to others wanting to start an out-of-the-box business is to basically go for it. If you have an idea, do it. They tell others to find like-minded people, set up a plan, and execute. No matter what comes your way, be relentless. They believe that if you want a genuine business, you’ll encounter genuine people.

They plan to grow and expand and keep offering the city things they’ve never tasted before. Here’s to hearing more about Cultura Beer Garden in the future. Cheers!

A match made in heaven!

By Maria Salas

Whether you realize it or not, you spend the majority of your day doing things you’ve already done hundreds of times before. It is rare when you actually try new things for the purpose of engaging in a unique experience. But what if certain places existed to provide you the ease of trying something new?

ShiBu and TreaHouse are unorthodox restaurants that have recently opened up in the city. They’ve brought us two concepts that have been unheard of…until now.

On the one hand, you have sushi burritos and on the other you have tea? But guys, they work! Hear me out.

You might’ve seen videos on the internet talking about sushi burritos and maybe even tagged some of your friends swearing you were going to try them out one day. Well, one day has finally arrived!

ShiBu has combined two of the most glorious and popular foods in Laredo and made it one. They’ve taken the scrumptiousness of sushi and made it handheld and turned the awesomeness of burritos and made it sushi!

They offer fresh ingredients and traditional sushi recipes we all know and love. However, they also allow you the freedom to build your own creation. With over 50 ingredients to choose from, you have the ability to create up to 2,000 different sushi burrito combinations! You can make your sushi burritos as small or as big as you’d like. The experts at ShiBu can definitely fit everything in.

After you’ve ordered at ShiBu, you can head upstairs to the TreaHouse and enjoy a refreshing bubble tea to go hand in hand with your sushi burrito.

TreaHouse is definitely something that hasn’t been done in Laredo and that is what makes it so special. TreaHouse puts a modern twist on a traditional tea shop. They delight your senses with bubble teas, customized brews, and a one of a kind teapot experience.

In addition to the over 50 tea blends available, you can expect a welcoming atmosphere the moment you walk through the door. TreaHouse is a real hangout spot complete with board games, books, art, a foosball table, and the view from the second floor is not to be overlooked! It is a cozy place to hang out with friends or to take your laptop and books and have a study session.

With awesome food, cozy teas, and free wifi, you’re never going to want to leave these places! Trust us! Visit them at 9802 McPherson Ste. 116.

Shellee: Artist, Mother,  Free-Thinker

by Oscar Perez

Shellee Laurent, a Laredo artist, approaches the creation of art with no limits. She’s one mentally strong artist who knows what she wants to create and is not afraid to use any mediums that will bring her inspiration to life. I got a chance to meet up with her over a cup of coffee to talk about her journey in this art world, the obstacles she faces, the inspiration behind the work and her view on the art community.

 

Oscar: Shellee, so what are you up to right now as far as Art goes?

Shellee: I’m always working on growing as an artist, daily. Right now, I’m challenging myself to work on anatomy. I’m slowly trying different things and moving into installation/performance art. After 18 years of being an artist, I still learn every day.

When did art become a ‘thing’ for you? What’s your earliest memory?

When I was 8 or 9, I got introduced to David Bowie. Even though he was a musician, his creativity with makeup, music, and costumes made me want to question my own identity. Nature also played a big part. I used to spend a lot of time sketching trees and birds while growing up in Iowa. I even sketched dead animals. 

Did you pursue art in school?

I did, it started in middle school, then high school and college. However, I don’t want to say school wasn’t for me but I don’t think I love learning in a structured way. I learn more organically. I’m always collecting hobbies. If I’m interested in something I pick up a book and learn about it.

What’s your style? What defines you as an artist?

I don’t think I can ever look in the mirror and say “I’m an Artist”. That takes balls. This is a hard one, however, I think if you create daily you are an artist. My style right now is more expressive, more thinking, more mindful.

How do you challenge yourself to continue developing your style? What’s your advice on that?

I think you should take at least 5 to 10 minutes a day to create something even when you don’t have the time. Work every day. It keeps your mind fresh.

What’s your preferred medium?

I can work with any medium; I really don’t follow the rules. I’m not tethered. I’m tethered in physical form but not tethered in mind, so I see opportunity with any medium. Whatever medium is around, will work. I’ve used everything from toilet paper to cardboard, even lipsticks.

What’s the biggest obstacle you have faced when it comes to creating?

Space. There could be times where you live in a shitty apartment and not have a studio. Some artists can’t afford a studio so you have to work from your kitchen table or bed. The obstacle has always been finding space. I overcome it by painting outside. The other obstacle is LIFE happening, you know, distractions happen.

Let’s spend some time on distraction. What’s the biggest distraction that keeps you from creating?

The biggest distraction has been me questioning my responsibility as an artist with all the things going on in the world. I ask myself if I should sacrifice my personal desire for the art I want to create and instead create something to address what is going on in the world. Being a feminist I feel responsible to speak up for women.

How do you move past the distraction?

Disconnecting from phone or TV has helped. I love being informed so I do watch TV but sometimes turning it off and disconnecting from that is more impactful. I have a responsibility to look and not look away, so staying up to date is important.

Do you have a routine for creating?

I usually have things organized for easy access. I separate everything by medium. I can say there is structure as much as there is chaos. I put my headphones on, play music and I’ll just focus on the work. Being a mom it’s hard sometimes to disconnect from my kids but they have learned to respect that time. I’m raising them in a way where they know that I respect their creativity time as well. 

Where does your inspiration come from?

It’s going to get a little “Adult” right now. My sexuality. Tuning into my own sexuality inspires me. It derives from passion. I think passion is very important. If I’m admiring something, I’m invoking all my senses. I try to do that as much as possible. I think it’s important to talk about sexuality. It’s part of who we are as humans. Some of my abstract work is very sexual but someone may not understand it.

What’s the one art piece you created that has challenged you the most?

The very first art piece I created after a horrible heart break. I had not painted for two years at the time and I remember I was in my bedroom reading. I then looked at my closet, the clothes and lighting looked very ‘sketchable’ at that moment. I didn’t have anything to create since I had stopped creating art at that time. I looked for paper and I remember grabbing an eyeliner pencil and I started to sketch. That was the first art piece after those two years. I was afraid that I had lost the creativity. That piece came out very lovely. It made those two years feel like it was only one day.

Why did you stop creating for two years?

I got consumed with how I was going to live without him. I feel that ‘not creating’ was a penance for myself.  I was young and took the gift [of creativity] for granted. I was consumed with the idea of flesh. I was about living life and doing whatever I wanted. It was hard. This made me grow the f*&* up.

Thanks for sharing that with us! What advice would you give a young artist who is just getting started?

For them to do their research. To understand what work they are producing and understand the demographic of people that are willing to buy that work. Get involved on social media. I would recommend starting there. Research and learn. Take risks. Life can be long and boring if you don’t.

Let me ask you about the art community here in Laredo, did it exist when you got to Laredo?

It was here but it was small and now it’s growing; there is a mixture of everything. You know, egos can get in the way as a community but as an artist you have to push past that. We have to realize we are all made out of the same material, we are all connected, so we have to respect that. I think right now the community is blossoming artistically. We’re all trying to help it grow.

That’s awesome! Tell me what’s your dream with art?

Just the capacity to be able to do it when I’m 80. For me it’s not about being famous or known. At the end of the day, the art is for me really. It’s for my sanity and my existence. I love to share it and love when people appreciate it; it is heart-warming. That’s it… To still be creating when I’m 80.

Shellee, thank you for taking time to meet with me today! I know your story will inspire others. Where can people connect with you and see your art?

Facebook: The Art of Shellee Laurent

Instagram: @leelaurent22

Website: laboutiquedart.bigcartel.com

 

Go follow Shellee on Instagram @leelaurent22 to keep up with her on this journey! She has big plans for 2018!

Laredo has grown to stand out among the rest

by Maria Salas

Much of what makes Laredo unique is its local cuisine. There is a flurry of options available for any kind of craving you might be having. Here at DeLaredo our mission is to provide you with all the latest trends going on in the city of Laredo. We love to showcase local restaurants, artists, talent, and people who are making a difference in the Gateway City. We offer you delicious options for a different night out. Laredo is filled with so much talent and we do what we do because local cuisine, talent, and artistry is important. Laredo has grown to stand out and not fit in. We have a culture all of our own and it is important for us to showcase it.

Taking advantage of dining local is an opportunity that not many can offer. Buying and dining local helps preserve Laredo’s diversity and flavor. Restaurants like Tabernilla, Sushi Madre, El Capataz, or Chocolateka, among others, offer Laredo a unique taste. You cannot find a similar taste elsewhere. No place else has what Laredo offers. Besides, Laredo offers a taste of different cultures. Apart from having some of the best Mexican food of South Texas, there is a multitude of flavors for every palette. Our multiculturality provides citizens and tourists alike a flavor not found anywhere else.

The local restaurants you visit offer you a one of a kind experience. Restaurant owners and chefs are very knowledgeable about what they offer. You get wholesome ingredients from someone who genuinely cares about what you’re consuming. When you buy local, you are supporting our local economy. Dining local helps create jobs and boosts local economy. For example, when you spend $15 in a restaurant, that owner can then take those $15 and spend them at a local coffee shop, the coffee shop owner then turns around and goes to the local farmer’s market. The spending becomes a chain reaction where the money you invest in local businesses stays within the community supporting local services within our city. The money stays in the community instead of it going to buying a new yacht for an already rich businessman.

Buying local helps to support families working hard at what they love to do. Visiting a restaurant from the city and dining from there helps to support a family by helping to pay bills, helping put food on the table and helping to provide for any needs that need to be met. It also helps owners provide for their families and what they need. Whether that be new school uniforms or dance classes, along with supporting local restaurants you are also supporting local talent. It supports them as well as you. You might not know it, but Laredo is brimming with undiscovered talent. Laredo has so much potential and the talent within the heart of the city speaks volumes as to what the city can grow to become. Laredo has a lot to offer not just with food, but with art and music as well.

Dining local isn’t just about spending a little extra for a great meal. It is going the extra mile to keep investing in delicious restaurants and local families that help Laredo remain vibrant, diverse, and fun. We at DeLaredo encourage you to visit a local restaurant and take a chance on investing in it; you will not regret it.

 

Taking advantage of dining local is an opportunity that not many can offer. Buying and dining local helps preserve Laredo’s diversity and flavor. Restaurants like Tabernilla, Sushi Madre, El Capataz, or Chocolateka, among others, offer Laredo a unique taste.

Fun fact: Honey is the only food product that never expires!

by Maria Salas

Chef Roberto “Bobby” Gonzalez of Tabernilla gets excited explaining how honey is the latest item making a local impact. Producers such as La Gorra Azul Ranch, who provide delicious local honey, and Texas Outer Rim Apiaries, who rescue hives and are on the way to producing honey, are the base of this. “Local restaurants including Trattoria Mia, Lolita’s Bistro and ourselves help spread the word,” says Chef Bobby.

Honey is best when it’s local and the best way to enjoy it is when you can eat it simply. A suggestion at Tabernilla is to have honey with churros or to accompany cheeses in their Tablas (a plate with cured meats and cheeses). At Tabernilla, Chef Bobby has been working with Ceci Cisneros and Christopher Segovia from Texas Outer Rim Apiaries for a couple of years and together they do something unique with honey on a very small scale which is kind of a “secret” on the menu.

But where does this “secret” honey come from? Thank you for asking, reader. Let me tell you.

Cecilia “Ceci” Cisneros, a local realtor, and Christopher Segovia are a mother-son duo that have the coolest hobby. They remove bees from a property and then they relocate them, tend to them, and will soon begin to harvest their honey.

What makes this process interesting is that when every beehive is first rescued it has honey with a unique taste, texture, color, and flavor profile depending on the plant variety around it. This is in a sense “hyperlocal” and gives and amazing sense of taste from a certain area of the city says Chef Bobby. “That honey is available for honey aficionados but those hives produce only small amounts.” Once the hives are rescued they are then relocated and taken to Bobby’s family’s ranch (Tanquecitos) to begin a new life and produce honey from that environment.

This mother-son duo began their beekeeping when Chris was supposed to leave to California to start his zoology degree, but ended up making a deal with his mother, Ceci, where she would get him his first hive and he’d stay in Laredo. Chris has always been fascinated by nature and together with his mother, they live out the mission to protect bees. Their mission is to educate people and let them know that the bees need to be protected because without them 95% of crops would cease to exist.

Today, people from around the city call them over to remove hives from their properties. Over the last year, they’ve rescued probably over 35 hives. As a family, they hope that this business can soon turn into something bigger. However, the most important thing to them is that people know the importance of having bees and the benefits of their being around.

Bees are a component of a healthy ecosystem. They perform a necessary task. Ceci and Chris value that importance.

So, next time you’re out preparing yourself a cup of tea or wanting something sweet in your breakfast, think about Outer Rim Apiaries. You can follow them on Facebook at Tx. Outer Rim Apiaries LLC or on Instagram @outerrim_apiaries_.

You won’t bee disappointed!

Know before you embark on a new journey

by Oscar Castillo

One should always strive to be better. Just as there is no such thing as perfect, there is also always room for improvement. The beginning of a new year means the beginning of new possibilities for our loved ones and ourselves. Never stop working towards your goals. This New Year, make a “new you.”

 

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Change and innovation are themes that are quite popular this month as we embark on a brand new year. Many are the individuals who seek to make that one positive change in their lives which would make it all better.

There is a common trend that occurs in January that leads many to actively pursue these “resolutions.” These are promises made to oneself or to others for a change to come. According to research done by the site Statistic Brain, around 21% of resolutions involve getting in shape or becoming healthier, 12% are focused on self-improvement, 8% for a more secure or better financial situation, and the list goes on. Some other goals include quitting smoking, to travel more, to spend more time with family, to learn new things, to find love or a better job, and even to just perform more good deeds for others. The site goes on to state that around 41% of Americans tend to form resolutions. In the first week, it is recorded that 72.6% will maintain their resolution. However, those numbers do not last. After two weeks, that percentage drops to 68.4%, after a month, to 58.4, and past six months, it falls to 44.8%. It shows that 37.8% of people in their twenties achieve their goals, while only 16.3% of individuals over 50 do so.

A lot of focus (including this month’s issue) is implemented on health. Life is about all sorts of things like family, love, friendship, work, and fun. However, without health, many of these would not be possible. It is important to harbor both a healthy mind and body in order to live life to its fullest, and to be able to properly function. There is a reason why so many focus their New Year’s resolutions on health matters. Perhaps they are trying to look better so they may feel confident or to impress that special someone. Perhaps they are trying to stay healthy for their family and so they can spend many more years with their loved ones. Whatever the reason is, becoming healthier is always beneficial.

Usually, the hardest part of anything is starting. Knowing where, how, and even when to begin a new goal is extremely important to its realization. It is many the individual that simply launches oneself on this new road in life, without really knowing or preparing for the challenges that may litter the path. For any resolution, but especially those involving health, it is highly important to go in with a plan in mind. Do not simply take to the weights and treadmill and decide to eat nothing but tuna and broccoli. There is a process for everything.

First off, before starting any exercise regime or diet, it is severely important to consult with a physician first. A diet can indeed be detrimental and even deadly if performed incorrectly. Visiting a nutritionist can greatly help as they will assist in preparing a specific plan for individual needs. Not only that, but physician assistance is necessary to determine what kind of existing health problems one may count with. These may hinder or worsen when beginning an unorganized exercise regime, and could even cause physical injuries.

Speaking of injuries, to avoid them while working out, one should also seek the help of fitness professionals. This especially applies to someone who has never been part of a workout regime or who may be new to gyms. If one immediately goes for the weights or any other machine, they may use them incorrectly or malpractice the exercises. Furthermore, an ineffective workout will bear in little to no results. This may be the reason why many become frustrated with their resolutions and may end up giving up on them. By planning ahead, seeking help, and making sure to do things right, results should become more evident.

Of course, with a good workout schedule one also needs a good diet. Once individual nutritional needs have been gauged and determined, it will be easier to setup and follow a diet. Strictness may vary between diet, but one should know that there are many options out there. As well, healthy food does not have to mean tasteless. Whether it is from professionals at the local gym or online, there are many who can help prepare and plan out meals for various diets. It is important to note that not all diets or exercises work for everyone, so finding what does for the individual is key to getting in better health.

Lastly, the most important part of any resolution is to follow through. A determined mind is the most important factor in any long-term or short-term goal. It takes drive and a strong will to stay on task. Although it may not be easy, in the end, those who manage to follow through will succeed.