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Long Family Commitment to South Texas Personal Commitment to My Customers Call us today and find out how much you can save! Farmers offers Auto, Home, Commercial and Life Insurance.

Ruben Bonilla Insurance Agency

2727 Morgan Ave, Ste 300 Corpus Christi, Texas 78405



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Diamonds at a PRICE you’ll LOVE Interest Free Financing w.a.c.






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ROBERT F. KENNEDY ONCE SAID THAT, “CHANGE IS THE LAW OF LIFE, AND THOSE WHO LOOK ONLY TO THE PAST OR PRESENT ARE CERTAIN TO MISS THE FUTURE.” As I’m sure you’ve noticed, my team and I are currently riding the waves of change. I am pleased to announce that NSIDE Coastal Bend is now Inspire Coastal Bend – it’s the same sophisticated magazine, but with a new name that reflects our thoughts about all the wonderful changes happening in our Sparkling City by the Sea. The Coastal Bend area as a whole is growing quickly, increasing jobs, business and industry, and bringing the community together – and all of this spells opportunity for both our current and future residents. It’s changing for the better. What’s more inspiring than that? At Inspire Coastal Bend, we hope to serve as a positive and effective reflection of that growth. Change is often daunting, but with change can come great improvement. If you’ve recently made a change in your life, I encourage you to stay optimistic and continue looking forward. With the right attitude and enduring faith, change can complement life to its greatest potential. We’re already seeing this in Corpus Christi – and with the wonderful support system we’ve enjoyed since our inception, I feel confident that Inspire Coastal Bend will see it, too. We truly appreciate the praise, positive feedback and support we’ve received over the years, and we will continue to recognize you for your successes and contributions to our beloved Coastal Bend area. We hope you will follow us in the next stage of our life as we continue to bring you the best of the Coastal Bend during this exciting time. Change is inevitable. Welcome it – and grow with us! God Speed,

Adrian Garza

EDITOR Allison Alvarado



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Mandy Ashcraft Kim Bridger Kaitlin Calk Chase Carlisle Tim Clark Liza Crain Jennifer Groza Laura Harris Lisa Hinojosa

Zeke Hinojosa Connie Laughlin TJ Salazar Monica Sawyer Terry Schade Sarah Tindall Gabriel Vasquez Sarona Winfrey

PHOTOGRAPHY Dustin Ashcraft Fonzie Munoz Photography

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Michelle Cadena Michelle Recio Jessica Salinas For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email For editorial comments and suggestions, please email

6537 S. Staples St., #125 Corpus Christi, Texas 78413 Phone: 361.548.1044



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Copyright © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.



Business Opportunities Abound



Cleaner and Greener

FEATURE 14 16 18 20 22

What’s Your Reason? Go for the Ideal How Y’all Doin’? An Ultimate Expression of Love Infinite Possibilities, Infinite Experiences


Clear Your Criminal Record


Peace Pays


24 24 DR. MARK

ESCAMILLA The president of Del Mar College brings both the school and the Coastal Bend into the future with his commitment to collaboration and focus on empowering the workforce.


Jennifer Rock and her instructors help moms of stroller-age children get their groove back at this fitness program, building a sense of community and sisterhood.



John Garcia takes Corpus Christi cool international with this masculine and edgy line of soaps, which, thanks to interest from the likes of Urban Outfitters, is clearly the next big thing.

Distinct Style


Safe and Secure

TASTE 44 46

First Impressions Twice as Nice


Something Special

STYLE 50 52 54

Make Peace with Your Hair A Lifetime of Dazzle Style and Substance Valerie Perez


A Winning Formula Never Judge an Animal by its Fur

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With over 650,000 shoppers per month, La Palmera offers a one-of-a-kind shopping destination to promote your business. Want more ways to hit the target? Affordable temporary and long-term leasing opportunities available! Visit to view our unique advertising and leasing opportunities found nowhere else in the Coastal Bend.


Make Palmedia part of your marketing plan and win against your competition.

361-986-7915 | PALMEDIACC.COM


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Whatever your interests, the booming Coastal Bend area has you covered. By: CONNIE LAUGHLIN

For more information on the most highly accredited locally headquartered PEO, contact consultant CONNIE LAUGHLIN at 361-852-6392 or conniel@uniquehr. com, or visit www.

THE EAGLE FORD SHALE is only part of our economic upswing; there’s a multitude of industrial, petrochemical, aeronautical and retail businesses locating in our hidden jewel on the water. We’re international news, and our status won’t change any time in the foreseeable future. “CCRED leaders have been strategically grooming the national and international corporate scene to locate facilities in our area, and it’s paying off,” says Garry Bradford, immediate past chair of Corpus Christi Regional Economic Development Corporation (CCRED), and president and CEO UniqueHR. “If the oil boom loses its luster in 18 years, we’ve got committed high-paying technical and industrial jobs, as we’re more diversified for the long haul.”


“We’re looking for loans!” says Harold Shockley Jr., president and CEO of the International Bank of Commerce in Corpus Christi. “The business climate is excellent, interest rates are low and the market for quality loans is competitive.” As a lifelong resident of Corpus Christi, Shockley adds, “there’s never been more going on in our area. From ongoing Eagle Ford Shale activities to recent announcements of approximately $20 billion in upcoming Port projects to Schlitterbahn’s completion, on the island, this is not the norm.” Existing tourist destinations are under expansion, and new ones opening up; everyone is preparing for the influx of new residents and tourists. Schlitterbahn, due to open this summer, has builders selling out condos and retail locations before completion. Everywhere you look, there’s new construction of auto dealers, residential subdivisions, apartment buildings, chain restaurants and retailers.


We’ve got jobs to be filled right now for every occupation. “There are many services that exist in the local market which will benefit by the coming growth,” says Ralph Coker, a retired refinery manager, business columnist for the Caller-Times and volunteer with the local chapter of SCORE. “They will be able to significantly grow their businesses, but will not be able to service the demand. New retail stores, restaurants, bars, homebuilders, fitness clubs, entertainment venues, etc., that all seek to capture disposable income will find reward in the improved economic position of current residents and the thousands of new residents which will soon enter the Coastal Bend market. Demographic projections speak to a growth of the Coastal Bend perhaps not ever seen before – certainly not since the 1940-50s period of rapid population expansion.”



Not only are we located on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico – it’s good business to


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be here. Many corporations are leaving other states and coming to South Texas due to low tax, interest, utility and construction rates. Corpus Christi ranks at No. 17 – up from No. 44 last year – on the 2013 Milken Institute Best-Performing Cities Index, which ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. “To build a healthy community with sustainable neighborhoods, money must be invested wisely to create a diversified economy that is not prone to booms and busts, says Corpus Christi City Council member Chad Magill. “I have the responsibility to steward public funds and ensure you get a well-deserved return on your invested tax dollar. I will continue to stand up for investing in our needs before our wants. Whether insuring quality of life, health and safety or providing support for business, industry and healthy neighborhoods, roads, storm and wastewater drainage, police and fire resources, basic infrastructure must be updated and maintained.” Coker agrees: “Our elected officials need to shift priorities from trying to create growth to providing public infrastructure for the growth that’s coming.”


You’ll easily slide into a laidback friendly vibe in the Coastal Bend. With extraordinary recreational activities, weekends are non-stop vacations. You’ll find record-setting South Texas hunting and fishing, great surfing at local beaches and several hometown teams who play in the area’s multiple sports complexes. Corpus Christi, known as the birdiest city in the United States, has more than 600 species of our feathered friends to watch. New schools are under construction, and the Christian community is on fire, offering a variety of churches from the mega-size to traditional Catholic parishes. Spiritual retreat centers have been built, and others are breaking ground. We’ve got your bases covered.

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The Power Scorecard and electricity market competition in Texas



compete for your business by offering lower prices, renewable energy options, added customer service benefits and other incentives.

GENERALLY, THERE ARE TWO TYPES OF REPS: 1. Affiliate 2. Competitive

The affiliate REP was part of the original electric company that generated and sold electricity in your area. Now the affiliate REP only sells electricity and provides customer service. The competitive REPs are new, and they compete with other REPs for your business. You can choose a competitive REP at any time. However, if you are not ready to choose a competitive REP, your electric service will continue to be provided by the affiliate REP. This company offers a standard rate for electric service called the “price to beat,” which is set by the PUC. Competitive REPs may offer prices even lower than the price to beat, and you may switch providers at any time. You may obtain information on the price to beat by contacting your affiliate REP and asking for a copy of its electricity facts label, or you may visit the PUC’s Electric Choice website at and enter your zip code in the “compare offers” section. The electricity facts label provides standardized information on electric service, including details on prices, contract terms, sources of generation and emissions. The Power Scorecard helps you evaluate the environmental quality differences among the competing REPs by providing environmental ratings of the electricity supply sources each REP uses to serve its customers. The Power Scorecard also provides limited information on the price of the choices available in each retail service area. Detailed information on price and other terms of service should be obtained from the REP.


• Information on how to contact each REP for such information • Links to the PUC’s website, where consumers may obtain extensive information on how retail choice works in Texas

For more information on Texas choice, see also: Unplugging Texas’ Most Powerful Polluters, A Report on How to Choose Electricity and Why it Matters. A Study for Public Citizen’s Texas Office and The SEED Coalition. July 2002 (available at Renewable Resources: The New Texas Energy Powerhouse. A report on the economic benefits of renewable energy in Texas and how to keep them growing. A report by the SEED Coalition and Public Citizen’s Texas office. September 2002 (available at


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onsumers in Texas should shop for electricity the way they shop for cars or clothes: The price matters, but so does the quality and the source of power. The Power Scorecard is designed to help consumers understand the environmental quality differences among the electricity service choices offered in the new retail competitive market. With competition, you, the consumer, have the opportunity to choose cleaner and greener electricity from among the new choices competition offers. The following explains how competition works. Other parts of the Power Scorecard provide information on the environmental quality differences in electricity choices offered in Texas. (See “ratings” at In the past, one company (a local utility) provided all the parts of your electric service (generation, transmission, distribution and retail sales). This means the local utility supplied the power, read your electric meter, fixed any electric line problems and determined the sources of electric generation. Because electricity consumers had no option to switch companies, utilities were able to install any facilities they felt necessary with little input from residents and consumers. Before deregulation, electric utilities were in charge of the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. They operated as a regulated monopoly, and had the sole rights to sell electricity in a particular region. On Jan. 1, 2002, Texas opened its electric system to retail competition. With competition, these parts are separated. The actual delivery of electricity across poles and wires to your home or business is called transmission and distribution. These services are provided to you by the local wires company, which is responsible for maintaining the poles and wires, and responding to emergencies and power outages as always. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) continues to regulate the delivery of electricity to ensure the safety and reliability of your electric service. With electric competition, retail electric providers (REPs) sell electricity to you and provide functions such as customer service and billing. REPs








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With so much to offer already and even more on the way, the La Palmera shopping district has become Corpus Christi’s top choice for shopping and dining. By: SARONA WINFREY


veryone has a reason they enjoy La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera. Whether it’s the perfect outfit, a need for sporting goods, great dining or the “I deserve it” handbag, the La Palmera Shopping District is Corpus Christi’s top choice for shopping and dining. “With one million square feet of retail and dining at La Palmera and 200,000 square feet available at The Shops at La Palmera just across from the mall, we have created the top shopping district in Corpus Christi,” said Fred Walters, general manager of La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera. “Between the two sister properties, we already have more than 130 retailers and restaurants, all located within 80 acres, with more on the way.” Among the more than 130 reasons to visit the La Palmera Shopping District are DSW, Coach, Soma Intimates, White House Black Market, HomeGoods, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PINK, Corner Bakery and LongHorn Steakhouse. La Palmera shoppers will soon see the addi-

tion of Oakley, known for their sports performance equipment and lifestyle pieces such as sunglasses, to be located near Center Court and the main entrance. Also new is Hang 10 Yogurt, specializing in a variety of frozen yogurts and toppings, as well as coffee drinks, located between Claire’s and Things Remembered on the mall’s upper level. And popular women and men’s specialty apparel retailer Express recently opened its new 6,325-square-foot space located between New York & Company and Aldo. The Shops at La Palmera also continues to take shape with the recent addition of a 7,000-squarefoot DXL superstore, offering one of the most extensive assortments of men’s big and tall clothing, shoes and accessories available anywhere, including everything from value-priced private labels to high-end designer names. DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse, a popular destination for savvy shoe lovers offering a wide selection of brand-name and designer dress, casual and athletic footwear and accessories for

women, men and kids, also recently opened an 18,000-square-foot store at The Shops at La Palmera. It is the first Corpus Christi location for both retailers. Construction continues at The Shops at La Palmera with five more new retail and restaurant locations on the way. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, (2,500 square feet), Gossip Nails (2,263 square feet), Great Clips (1,241 square feet) and Subway (1,500 square feet) will be located in a new building near Dick’s Sporting Goods, with Dress Barn (7,254 square feet) located near Corner Bakery. All are slated to open this year. “The La Palmera shopping district continues to thrive,“ Walters said. “Both La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera continue to attract new shopping and dining options, and our guests are really enjoying the quality and variety of what we have to offer.” With so much to offer, shoppers often cite different reasons for visiting The La Palmera shopping district, prompting the “My LP Reasons” marketing campaign (#myLPreasons). Shoppers have begun sharing their reasons via Twitter and email, at community events and at the mall, and La Palmera will feature select entries in upcoming print and television ads. “We are really becoming aware of just how many reasons people have for coming to La Palmera,” Walters said. “The more we grow, the more diverse the reasons. Our customers are always our best advertising, and it struck us what a great idea this would be to feature real people in our marketing efforts, which we plan to do in the near future.”

For more information on La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera, go to or, or call 361-991-3755. Located at the corner of Staples and SPID, it’s Corpus Christi’s best shopping and dining. What’s your reason?


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Marketing by design, not by the seat of your pants


still remember the day it occurred to me that we really had no marketing plan. Our marketing program was sporadic events rather than intentionally scheduled programs. It occurred to me that “real businesses” don’t just show up and market in a haphazard fashion. A marketing plan should naturally be part of a strong business plan. As John Romero so eloquently put it, “market to your best customers first.” How do we determine who our “best customers” are? Success in business requires us to continually look at the dynamics of the consumer. The demographics of the consumer and their priorities change. We studied our most profitable customers to see what characteristics they have in common. Were they brought to us through a particular source? Do they purchase a particular product? Which clients are most likely to refer others? What is the typical age of our best customers? How do


they want to buy our products? How often does our ideal customer want to be contacted? Does the ideal customer become more profitable if we do business over the phone, in person or online? We had to shift our thinking from selling products to identifying ideal prospects. After determining the characteristics and buying habits of the ideal customer, we had to become clear on what we could do to attract that person to our organization. What does our brand need to represent in order to meet the ideal prospect’s needs? Unfortunately, if I cannot articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us, what are the odds that the employees can articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us? And if the employees cannot articulate clearly why a prospect should do business with us and the customers cannot understand what distinguishes us from the competition, what are the odds that they will send a referral? Zero.

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After we have studied our best customers and defined our uniqueness, our second emphasis had to be on new prospects. Once we have a clear picture of what our best customers look like, we are better prepared to go after the best prospects. We designed an annual marketing program and created a marketing calendar to document exactly what our monthly processes would be. Always be on the lookout for something new. Google search engine optimization and mobile device searches didn’t even exist several years ago. Having a diverse marketing program reduces the negative effects if any one process has to be discontinued. Never have all your eggs in one basket. Be creative, and be flexible. Do not become so attached to your plan that you do not adapt if market conditions change or a new opportunity arises. For more information, contact Laura Harris at or 361-985-2875.



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Dreaming of a fairytale country wedding? Let the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds help you create your very own heaven for one of the most special days of your life. By: TJ SALAZAR Photo by: FONZIE MUNOZ PHOTOGRAPHY

Celebrating One Fairy Tale at a Time


very wedding has its unique love story to tell, and every love story includes an imaginative storyteller, a romantic relationship between two people, the most extravagant ornamentation to create the ambiance of your dreams and most importantly, a beautiful fortress to host the ceremony of two becoming one. The Richard M. Borchard (RMB) Regional Fairgrounds incorporates all of this and so much more in order for you to have the wedding you’ve only heard about or seen in fairytales. Fancy, chic, country, inside, outside, big and small, the RMB Regional Fairgrounds in Robstown, Texas, can accommodate all. With more than 230,000 square feet of flexible event space to offer and a 700-person capacity, they are sure to please. Their 20,000-square-foot grand ballroom offers an elegant indoor setting with the option to downsize to


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a 15,000-square-foot or a 5,000-squarefoot space. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds also provides an indoor, climate-controlled 50,000-square-foot exhibit hall and a covered outdoor equestrian center. This 45-acre complex, as well as the breathtaking meadow surrounded by the various venues, has plenty of outdoor space to accommodate and transform into your very own heaven for one of the most special days of your life. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds knows how stressful the wedding process can be, which is why they are here to lift that burden as much as possible by making it easier than ever to plan your wedding. Wedding planners are the storytellers of your ultimate fairytale wedding; you give them your ideas and they turn them into something spectacular. Sales and Marketing Manager Angela Ridge not only will give you peace


of mind during the entire evolution of your wedding with her friendly and professional customer service, but she will make it her goal to transform the wedding of your dreams into reality. With more than 100 years of combined event and wedding planning experience, as well as their all-inclusive wedding packages, you’re sure to have more time to relax – you might even have enough money leftover to afford that luxurious honeymoon with your Prince Charming. These all-inclusive wedding packages not only include event planning down to the nitty-gritty details without any hidden costs, but they’ve also established a partnership with Leana Lopez-Yates and her team of local professional decorators to offer more options to brides when choosing color schemes, themes and décor, which means you have hundreds of options to customize your wedding. Every bride brings something different to the table, so whether you are a “glitz and glam” type of girl looking to have a dazzling wedding, a quirky girl full of spontaneity looking to have a wedding with pops of color or a good ol’ country gal looking to have a picturesque rustic wedding, La De Da Events will be sure to create the “smiles, oohs and ahs” you expect to have on your big day. Now that you’ve got the venue and decorations taken care of, what’s a fairytale wedding without a grand feast? Look no further because the RMB Regional Fairgrounds has got you covered. Their in-house, full-service catering staff offers a variety of menu options sure to please you and your guests. Choose from a plated sit-down formal setting or a buffet, “serve yourself” style, included in the all-inclusive wedding packages. If you’re in the mood for Italian, you are entitled to have a full-blown Italian

dinner; if you want to be treated like royalty, you can choose from several elegant dinners that are fit for a queen; and lastly, if you want to stick with the country theme the venue ever so graciously offers, you can have yourself a South Texas country dinner, a fiesta right off the Southwestern grill or Texas-style barbecue. All entrees are served with premium Colombian coffees and freshly brewed iced tea. (Ask the professional sales staff for more information on cash bar and bartender services.) Country weddings take shape and are often influenced by the nature that surrounds the area. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds takes great pride in the tranquil country setting that envelopes the venue, as well as the spacious indoor facilities that acclimate the guests. When a bride and groom begin to plan their wedding, one of the things they must consider is if they want it to take place indoors or outdoors. For some couples, the fresh air and natural beauty of a romantic outdoor setting is ideal, and for others, the comfort and adaptability of an indoor location is preferable. Luckily, the RMB Regional Fairgrounds offers the best of both worlds because one bridezilla that not even the RMB wedding planners can control is Mother Nature. Any outdoor wedding is at her mercy, and you have to protect your event and your guests accordingly. An indoor wedding, of course, eliminates any chance of weather interfering with the original planning and is generally more comfortable, as well. The beauty of planning an indoor celebration is that clients can transform the space in any way they like; they can even make it look and feel like the outdoors. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds can lend itself to the client’s envisioned theme if conceived creatively and executed properly. Imagine transforming a ballroom into a lavish garden with lush flower centerpieces and accents of elegant trees, plants and stones. The possibilities are boundless, and it’s all in the details. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds bases its customer service on a very important philosophy: “How Y’all Doin’?” The “How Y’all Doin’?” customer service program employs 10 goals to help maintain a first-rate facility by providing top-notch service to their customers, and it encourages the staff to go out of their way to make sure all visitors feel at home and that their first and lasting impression is a positive one. Getting married in the country can set the perfect backdrop for your perfect type of wedding. The RMB Regional Fairgrounds can accommodate every single type and theme of country wedding, from western country and country chic to old southern country and more. Look no further, and make the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds your first choice wedding destination as you look forward to the happily ever after you truly deserve.


For more information, call 361-387-9000, email aridge@ or visit the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds online at I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M




Ascher Cut Center 6.02 H-VS (Platinum)Â Accented with (2) Beryl Cut diamonds 7.60 ctw

The history of diamonds and their mystique, and a few things to know when you shop for that special diamond for that special someone By: ZEKE HINOJOSA


or years, diamonds have captured the imaginations of all who encounter them. They have been prized by many cultures for centuries due to their rarity, mystique, strength and beauty. Diamonds were first mined in India more than 4,000 years ago. Each culture had its own beliefs as to how diamonds arrived here. Some believed they were tears of the gods and splinters from falling stars; others believed they were formed by lightning striking rocks. The truth is that diamonds are found all over the world, but 80 percent of all diamonds come from just seven main sources. These areas are:

11.16 ct Star 129 Center Diamond 17 cts of 58 Facet Diamonds Surrounding the Necklace

Angola // Australia Botswana // Namibia // Russia South Africa // Zaire Modern mining began in the mid-1900s in South Africa, along with rise of the DeBeers empire. What makes diamonds so rare? Diamonds are thousands of years old, and they are made of pure carbon, crystalized by extreme heat and pressure. They are formed approximately 150 miles below the earth’s surface and forced up through volcanic eruption. It takes ap-



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proximately 250 tons of mining and processing the earth’s ore to produce a single one-carat, polished, gem-quality diamond. Once the diamonds have been mined and processed, they are classified and valued according to their size, shape, quality and color. The Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sorts rough diamonds into more than 16,000 categories. These rough diamonds are sold 10 times per year at regular, invitation-only sales called “sights.” Then sightholders choose to cut the rough they purchased or sell some of it to smaller manufacturers and wholesalers. The next step for the rough diamonds is cutting and polishing. This skill is done with meticulous techniques that have been perfected for generations. Imagine if you cut a rough diamond and slightly miscalculate a cut or measurement, and the diamond suddenly drops weight to less than a carat. How much value is really lost at this point? There is a tremendous difference between an actual one-carat diamond and one that is even one point smaller (.99). These days, some polishing is computerized; however, most of the work is still performed by hand. Now we have a finished diamond – the ulti-

1 2 3 4

mate expression of love. The word, “diamond,” derives from the ancient Greek word, “adamao,” translated as “I tame” or “I subdue.” The first engagement ring on record was presented by Austria’s Archduke Maximilian to his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy, in 1477. The ring was placed on the third finger of her left hand, based on ancient Egyptian belief that this finger contained a love vein that ran directly to the heart. Ever since then, couples have followed along in tradition and continue to use the diamond as a symbol of their love and devotion to each other. One of the more interesting things you will do in your life is take the time to shop around for that very special diamond for that very special someone. There are four very simple basics to be aware of when you have your favorite jeweler show you diamonds.


The cut: Always try to request and stay as close to an “ideal cut” of a diamond as possible. The ideal cut will ensure that your diamond has the maximum sparkle that everyone desires.

The color: The vast majority of folks prefer a diamond with little or no color. The color chart, which your jeweler should show you, will tell you that the colors known as D, E and F are colorless, and the colors known as G, H, I and J are near colorless. Letters K through Z represent the color range, which shows more prominent color.

The clarity: The fewer internal characteristics, the better. This allows maximum light refraction to enter and exit the diamond. SI1 and SI2 are diamonds that are clean with no eye visible inclusions, and VS1 and VS2 are diamonds that are totally eye clean and show limited internal characteristics under 10-power magnification. These two categories represent the greatest number selected by those shopping for diamonds. The carat: Typically speaking, the larger the diamond with the aforementioned characteristics, the greater the investment. A smaller diamond with lower characteristics represents a lesser investment.

Knowledge of the four Cs gives you a starting point in looking for a diamond. Always shop with a jeweler who has earned an excellent reputation and/or comes highly recommended. Another very important thing to know before embarking on this venture is your budget. By sharing this with the jeweler, you’ll save both yourself and the jeweler a lot of time. Our recommendation is to always choose quality over quantity. When shopping for that special diamond engagement ring, most guys aren’t thinking that diamonds are also a great investment, but guess what? Diamonds have proven to be one of the best overall investments anyone can make. This is particularly true with diamonds that are one carat and over. Now you know the history and you’ve had a mini-lesson on what to look for when you decide to go shopping for that special diamond. Good luck!

PROTECT YOUR WORLD LAURA HARRIS ALLSTATE AGENCY (361) 985-2875 Toll Free: (888) 287-5901 Fax: (361) 985-0509 LauraHarris/Welcome Like us on Facebook! Monday-Friday, 8am-6pm Saturday, 9am-1pm

Denny Bales Diamonds is located at 7009 S. Staples St., Ste. 101, in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, email

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INFINITE POSSIBILITIES, INFINITE EXPERIENCES Become a VIP Club Seat Member or Suite Holder at the American Bank Center, and enjoy the best entertainment like never before. Special to INSPIRE COASTAL BEND


is a memory in the making. Let the American Bank Center make the experience exquisite and unforgettable! Being a VIP Club Seat Member or Suite Holder makes your time at the American Bank Center remarkable and exciting each and every time you are here. As you enter the VIP glass entrance doors, you will be guided with red carpet treatment to the VIP Imperial Lounge. Once you arrive on the second floor, the doors will open to the smiling faces of our staff. Step into the VIP Imperial Lounge, get a refreshing drink, then continue downstairs to the cheering crowd to your personalized VIP club seats or enjoy the show in the privacy of your suite with friends, family and/ or coworkers. At SMG-managed American Bank Center, we pride ourselves on being a premier venue, located in the heart of the SEA District in Corpus Christi. This year alone, we have hosted a variety of events. We have held concerts like Alan Jackson, shows for the whole family like “Disney on Ice” and had the pleasure to host comedians like George Lopez, a crowd favorite.

This summer, we are looking forward to the band, Chicago, and the Backstreet Boys. We constantly have an assortment of great entertainment lined up, and we are always diligently working on innovative ways to bring in new shows that everyone will enjoy. As a VIP Club Seat Member or Suite Holder, you are guaranteed to have access to great seats to your favorite shows. One of the perks of being a VIP is that you are the first to know about our upcoming events. We send updates, presales and event information so you are always up-to-date on all of our events. As a VIP Club Seat Member, you will always know where your seats are because you get to choose the seats, which are personalized with a name plaque. If you are a suite holder, we will make sure your suite is always ready for you and your guests. We understand that to have an enjoyable time, you not only need the best view from your seats, but also the best customer service. Our premium seat and marketing coordinator, Yamid Duarte, will make sure to help you with all your ticket needs. During the event, our suite and VIP club seat concierge will make sure you and your

guest have everything to make sure the show is memorable. If your company is looking for a perk to give your hardworking employees or to treat one of your loyal clients, you should consider becoming a VIP Club Seat Member or Suite Holder. Your employees and clients will have access to the best entertainment in the city! Leave a lasting impression on your employees, clients, family and friends, as we make sure their experience is fun, entertaining and incredible. Let us turn your time at the American Bank Center into a VIP memory that lasts a lifetime. For more information, please contact Yamid Duarte, our premium seat and marketing coordinator, at 361-826-479 or

SMG-managed American Bank Center is Corpus Christi’s premier event center providing unprecedented guest experiences. Visit us online at www.americanbankcenter. com or, or follow us on Twitter (@AmericanBankCtr) or Instagram (@AmericanBankCenter).


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I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

With his entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to maximizing results, DR. MARK ESCAMILLA leads DEL MAR COLLEGE and the Coastal Bend into the future. By: SARAH TINDALL | Photos by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



artnerships are the currency critical to community prosperity, according to Dr. Mark Escamilla, president of Del Mar College. His commitment to collaboration is evident in the vision he empowers, the initiatives he launches and the friends and colleagues who know they can rely on him. “I know I must be able to get along with people,” he said, “and pour my heart and soul into the job to build these relationships.” Leading an institution with an annual oper-

According to him, “being an entrepreneur is all about knowing how to balance freedom with responsibility.” Del Mar College is growing, thanks to Escamilla’s consensus building of college regents, employees and local community leaders. He and his team identified college needs for the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), which was approved by the board. The program addresses critical construction, renovation and demolition needed to deliver instruction during the next 10 years. The CIP proposes a new south side campus on 95 acres purchased last year at Rodd Field Road and Yorktown Boulevard.

derstands that when business and educational entities collaborate, shared resources maximize the results. “Working together, we can leverage college resources and business capital to reach our regional potential,” said Escamilla, who is committed to carefully building and maintaining partnerships with local businesses and industries. “We’re working with TPCO America, currently building a seamless pipe manufacturing facility, to provide customized training to meet their employment needs,” he said. “We’re also reaching out to M&G Chemicals and the Voes-

Escamilla is focused on preparing the workforce required for local business and industry.

ating budget of over $78 million and employing more than 1,400 full- and part-time faculty and staff, Escamilla says an entrepreneurial spirit is part of his DNA. He understands the need to be motivated to get the job done while being willing to accept the consequences of his actions.


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Building regional partnerships As president of a community college educating 22,000 students each year in credit, noncredit, contract and continuing education programs, Escamilla is focused on preparing the workforce required for local business and industry. He un-

talpine steel company to offer customized training programs. I have what I consider a healthy paranoia. I understand the college must grow and adapt to the needs of the community to fulfill our mission.” Enrollment in corporate training certifica-

tions and other fast-track workforce preparation programs at Del Mar College has grown 44 percent in the past three years. “When the college reports enrollment, we’re not just counting the welders and truck drivers we prepare,” Escamilla said. “We’re also educating the entrepreneurs, doctors, teachers and computer technicians needed to sustain our new burgeoning economy.” Collaborating with Workforce Solutions of the Coastal Bend, Del Mar College has credentialed more than 2,000 graduates of the Career Ready program, a three-day “boot camp” that offers clients unable to find employment the soft

skills necessary to prepare a résumé, interview for a job and develop teamwork skills necessary to keep a job once they are employed. “When Ken Treviño, CEO of Workforce Solutions, explained his Career Ready program, I said, ‘You train them, and we’ll credential

them,’” Escamilla said. Career Ready graduates leave the program with a Del Mar College diploma and transcript listing continuing education credit. This credential often inspires them to enroll in credit classes. The college also partners with the Craft Training Center to credential students completing specific welding and other high-demand skills programs. Del Mar College is also collaborating with KEDT, the local Public Broadcasting System affiliate, to bring their studios to the college’s center for economic development on South Staples Street. Understanding educational importance  Growing up in Corpus Christi, Escamilla worked alongside his father and four siblings, noting that managing several small businesses taught him responsibility. Starting at a young age, he worked in the family construction business and later in his father’s auto repair business. “When dad came out of the Marine Corps in 1958, he worked for H-E-B before opening his own construction company,” Escamilla added. “Once he was an independent business owner, he never looked back.” A second-generation Del Mar College graduate, Escamilla credits his family with instilling in him teamwork ethics and a sense of responsibility. His father obtained a welding certification at the West Campus. And Escamilla’s own diploma from Del Mar College graces his office wall with bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin, where he majored in educational administration, with a focus on community college leadership. “When my family lost their construction business during the oil bust in the mid ‘80s, dad encouraged me to get a college education as a safeguard against another economic downturn,” he said. “I’d hang mufflers on the college’s vehicles in his shop just across the street from the West Campus before taking classes on the East Campus. Who knew that 20 years later I’d have the opportunity to lead this great college?” If his own story weren’t proof enough, Escamilla cited recent state data as evidence that a Del Mar College education is a good investment. Research confirms that the median income is $57,221 for Del Mar College graduates earning an Associate of Applied Science in a business, occupational or technical major in their first year out of college. “That’s $6,000 per year over the state average,” Escamilla said proudly. “Multiply these salaries by 500 AAS graduates, and the college infuses $28 million return on investment into the community each year.” Further bolstering his case is a recent analysis by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) showing that the

average graduate with an associate’s degree will earn $10,700 more each year compared to someone with a high-school diploma or equivalent. Furthermore, the analysis states that for every $1 a student invests in a community college in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and deferred wages, the students receive a cumulative $4.80 in higher future wages. Ultimately, the return on investment to students comes to $3.80 for every $1 paid. Promoting workforce philosophy  “I consider everyone who got up this morning, got dressed and went to work as a member of the workforce,” Escamilla said during a recent college town hall meeting. “It’s my job to help raise the educational level of the region to empower that workforce. Providing those opportunities is what partly keeps me up at night.” Escamilla understands the need to ensure that the economic boom currently sweeping the region translates into systematic growth and economic improvement in the future. “Diversifying the local economy is important,” he said. “As I’m directing key college resources toward preparing the workforce needed right now in the petrochemical, trucking and manufacturing industries, I’m also focused on opening college credit opportunities to our high-school students to encourage them to complete two- and fouryear degrees.”   Fostering the future  Del Mar College’s dual credit program is a priority for Escamilla. A recent “listening tour” he took to meet with school district superintendents and students around the region led to launching the “Del Mar College dual credit promise.” Now high-school students from Aransas to Kleberg Counties can take college-level classes for just $99.99 per three semester-hour course – reduced from $171.99 – while earning college credits toward certificates, associate’s degrees and beyond. “Many of our students represent the first generation in their families to attend college,” Escamilla said. “We need to build a relationship with students and their families to encourage them to pursue higher education. We need to change the mindset that college isn’t affordable.” He recently authorized publishing a parents’ guide for enrolling in Del Mar College, printed in English and Spanish. He also hosted conversations with middle-school parents to familiarize them with processes critical to a college-going culture. “Students and families need to understand the college admissions, financial aid and registration processes to successfully transition into higher education,” he noted. “I’m committed to raising the educational attainment level throughout the Coastal Bend. It’s the right thing to do.”


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Unlike some other advanced placement options for high-school students, once a student makes a passing grade in a dual credit course, he or she has earned a permanent college credit that appears on a Del Mar College transcript and transfers to other institutions. Just across the street from Escamilla’s dad’s shop on Morgan Avenue, a newer example of educational partnerships recently completed first-year operations. The Harold T. Branch Career and Technical Academy of the Corpus Christi Independent School District offers students a pathway to complete a Del Mar College certificate or associate’s degree while finishing their high school diploma. “Imagine being an 18-year-old high-school graduate who already has an Associate of Applied Science degree and workforce skills in aviation maintenance, fire science or petroleum processing technology in today’s economy.” Keeping education attainable  According to Escamilla, “maintaining affordability is part of Del Mar College’s mission and one of the key underpinnings of the American community college movement.” In that regard, students living in the Del Mar College District


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I’m committed to raising the educational attainment level throughout the Coastal Bend. It’s the right thing to do.”

pay less than $1,200 per semester in tuition and fees for a full course load. That’s one-third to one-fourth the cost of the same course load at a state university. “Offering students an affordable option for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree can make the difference throughout students’ lifetimes,” Escamilla added. “We offer smaller classes – an average of about 22 students. And our academic rigor is recognized nationwide. I often hear it said, ‘If you can make it at Del Mar College, you can make it anywhere.’ That was the case for me in the 1980s, and it’s still true today.” Escamilla sees to it that employees at Del Mar College are afforded educational opportunities, too. He recently made arrangements for his doc-

toral program mentor, Dr. John Roueche with the Roueche Graduate Center at the National American University, to work with college faculty and staff interested in earning a doctorate in educational leadership. “As a product of the community college experience,” Escamilla said, “I’m driven to go out every day and create more opportunities and educational accessibility for the local community.” While he spearheads numerous projects designed to improve the quality of life in the Coastal Bend, Escamilla also manages to stay focused on his family partnership. He and his wife, Jodi, maintain a busy schedule juggling parenting duties for their sons, Benjamin and Lucas. Coaching ball teams, serving as a school monitor and staying connected with his entire family are top priorities for this president. He cares about his own family and commits his professional career to improving educational opportunities for families across the Texas Coastal Bend. For more information on Dr. Mark Escamilla or Del Mar College, call 361-698-1200 or visit

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Locally-owned and operated Flavors rotating weekly, offering fat-free and no sugar added options. 214 E. Main St. / Alice, TX 78333 (361) 664-5999 Hours: Noon-9pm Like us on Facebook

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A Sense of Community Thanks to the HARD WORK and DEDICATION of JENNIFER ROCK, moms of stroller-age children get a lot more than just a workout at Stroller Strides. By: SARAH TINDALL Photos by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT


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Stroller Strides is a fitness program where moms of stroller-age children meet up several times a week to exercise in local parks around the Coastal Bend. However, Stroller Strides is also a fitness program that’s about way more than fitness. The camaraderie participants experience is meaningful to participants, many of who are first-time mothers looking for fellowship with their fitness regimen. Owner Jennifer Rock credits the exercise program as a life-changing experience that helped her get her groove back after having her first child three years ago. “I joined Stroller Strides when my son was 12 months old,” she says. “I had heard of the program, but waited 12 months before joining. It was like a breath of fresh air for me; after losing myself for a year in motherhood, I began to remember who I was before I had a baby. Everything changed. Exercising and the daily interactions with other moms made me a better wife, mother and friend. I was taking care of myself again.” That was 2012, and Rock spent the rest of that year enjoying the program with her son and finding herself through interaction with other moms. In March 2013, when Rock was five months pregnant with her daughter, the owner of Stroller Strides approached her to see if she was interested in buying the franchise. “After a lot of thought, I said yes because I was so passionate about the program,” she says. “It’s


such a positive and supportive program for stay-at-home moms to be part of something with their baby.” The beginning was rocky, with membership dwindling and a total revamp needed, and even though Rock was progressing in her pregnancy, she knew Stroller Strides was too important for the people who participated to let it fold. So she put all of her time and energy into the program, recruiting new moms through Facebook and other outreach efforts and making sure each workout was fun and beneficial.  Now the program is bursting at the seams. Stroller Strides meets Monday through Friday at different parks around town, including Cole Park, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, La Palmera Mall, Brighton Park and the Texas State Aquarium. Rock is not the only instructor, and she gives credit to the moms – and now good friends – who stuck by her in the beginning and helped her build up the program and make it better. Once a month, the group meets for a family night out with their kids. “Typically we choose different festivals in town, meet up and hang out there,” Rock says. “The group also has craft day every Thursday after the workout, and moms and their kids will do things like fly kites together or play parachutes or even engage in an impromptu soccer match. Saturdays are family workout days, and members and anyone in the community interested in coming out is encouraged to come to the workouts to get some weekend fitness in.” Rock and her group also pick a community outreach project every quarter to do something to help in the local community. She explains that, “it can be anything from March of Dimes to canned food drives.” Stroller Strides has been in Corpus Christi for more than six years now, but under Rock’s leadership, it has blossomed into a meaningful organization that is helping build a sense of community in our rapidly growing city. “I only knew about Stroller Strides because when I was 25 years old, I saw moms on Ocean Drive with strollers, and I thought, ‘I’ll do that one day,’” she says. Rock, along with the founding mothers, makes a special effort to reach out to the moms interested in joining the group to make them feel welcome and not to feel intimidated.  All of her hard work is paying off. The group now has more than 30 members signed up, and Rock says she hears her own story over and over again from the women who participate. Her favorite life-changing moment was when she met a mom at a restaurant. “We got to talking, and she had spent dinner telling her husband she thought she needed to seek treatment for stress and anxiety,” Rock says. “She was far away from the support of her family. After a few weeks in Stroller Strides, she had found her support group and was on the road to happiness once again. Many of our moms don’t come from Corpus Christi, and they are looking for a community to be a part of. We become a sisterhood – a little village, as we call it.” Rock focuses the group on positive behavior – leaning on each other for commiseration after a sleepless night and enjoying the adult interaction. “When mom comes to class, I want her to leave everything behind – leave their stress behind, have fun and exercise,” Rock says. “We partner up or get in groups to play tag for cardio and burn some calories. It’s our happy hour at 9:30 in the morning.” The exercise lasts for an hour, and Rock says all fitness levels are welcome. She has moms who run marathons and come every day for serious training, as well as moms who just had a baby six weeks before and are ready to ease back into a workout routine. “Either way, we do our best to meet all of their fitness needs,” she says. This spring, Rock had three teams participate in the Beach to Bay Relay Marathon. Some moms were very competitive and ran the whole race, and others walked and were just glad to be able to do it. Rock celebrates her one-year anniversary with Stroller Strides in June. She offers specials to moms who sign up, including no registration fee for new members and even a teacher’s pass so teachers can participate in the summer while they are out of school. It’s been one amazing year, with the birth of her daughter and the development of her business, but Rock is grateful for the opportunity and looking forward to great things to come.

For more information or to sign up for Stroller Strides, visit strollerstridescc. Mention Inspire Coastal Bend magazine when you join for a 20 percent discount!

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BIG THING John Garcia, aka DJ Johnny Hotcakes, has taken Dirty Dog Soap Company national and even international in a mere matter of months – and it all started with a viewing of “Fight Club.” By: SARAH TINDALL Photos by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

JOHN GARCIA HAS TAPPED INTO CORPUS CHRISTI COOL FOR DECADES. Working as a musician, DJ and performer while he put himself through college, he is immediately recognizable by anyone on the local party circuit in as Johnny Hotcakes, the man behind the turntables working his magic, spinning anything from Tejano to country to rock and everything in between and keeping guests on the dance floor all night long. Now he’s launched Dirty Dog Soap Company, and a new and exciting world of opportunity has opened up to him. Yep, that’s right: soap. Garcia has turned a kitchen-table operation with his dad, making soap specifically designed for and marketed to men, into a national operation that has sold to the likes of Urban Outfitters in a mere matter of months. Now he’s set his sights on law school, with plans to use the soap money for the funds he needs to get there. If you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, wow – just like ‘Fight Club,’” you’re correct. When Garcia was watching the movie with his roommate late one night, his entrepreneurial and creative juices began flowing and an idea was born. His dad had been making soap in his kitchen for years, but never had any real interest in marketing it commercially. Garcia’s epiphany was this: At the time, there were no real bath products available that appealed to men. So he and his father set out to make soap that smelled great with fresh, clean scents that were made for men, and then package it in a way that men would like. “Dirty Dog Soap was masculine, but at the same time, kinda edgy,” Garcia said. “We wanted it to exude masculinity because it was aimed at men, but rough with names that were dou-


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ble entendres and suggestive with names like Woke up Quick, Cherry Bomb and Late Nite @ the Office.” And just like that, Dirty Dog was born. It took six months to perfect the product (deciding on a shape, smell, color and texture) and to perfect the packaging (developing a logo and deciding on the style and look), but finally, all was ready and Garcia set up a table at the downtown Corpus Christi ArtWalk in August 2012. The result

Etsy, and sales around the country were steady. The money from the soap and his DJ career was enough for Garcia to attend Del Mar College and eventually attain a political science degree from Texas A&M University-Kingsville, as well as pay his monthly bills. But his real break came when he got an email that changed everything. In October 2013, Garcia got an email from Urban Outfitters asking for samples of the product for possible sale at their stores. Garcia

Garcia’s story is the


at its finest. was nothing short of surreal. Garcia sold $800 of product in a couple of hours, covering the entirety of financial outlay to make the product and making his fledgling company immediately profitable. He couldn’t believe it. His soap was selling like hotcakes – and DJ Johnny Hotcakes was onto the next big thing. Dirty Dog Soap continued brisk sales at ArtWalk events and at PRODUCE, a storefront in downtown Corpus Christi that offers apparel, as well as local music and art, while providing a venue for local musicians and artists to create and display their work. He then put the soap on

thought it was a joke (someone who wanted free samples and was pretending to be the retail chain) and emailed back sarcastically asking for the address to send the product. The email came back with the address, and Garcia entered it into Google Maps to see what came up. “I was stunned: The address checked out as the corporate headquarters for Urban Outfitters,” Garcia said. “I flipped out and called my dad, who didn’t even know who Urban Outfitters was. We spent days making the most perfect package to send up there – every piece of soap perfectly cut, every stamp straight and

perfect, the butcher paper perfectly wrapped, the best of the best of my six top sellers. I even stamped the UPS box to look like it had been around the world and then sent it off and hoped for the best.” The result was mind-blowing. “They wanted 500 bars delivered to them in three weeks,” he said. “I knew this was my big chance: I was going to make it nationally. We spent three weeks making batch after batch of soap, 33 in all, and then wrapping each individually in boxes and plastic.” And then the wait began. Only one month later, just in time for Christmas, the check came in the mail. “We freaked out!” Garcia said with a smile. Since then, the company has grown. Garcia and his father spend every Sunday afternoon making soap, which ships all over the country and the world through the Etsy store and is sold at all the Urban Outfitters locations. The 2013 line is focused on organic and natural soaps made using essential oils without sulfites or additives. “It’s all completely raw, like a hippie throwback,” Garcia said. “We have soaps that are unscented, and they are all vegan and organic in this line.” Garcia has also collaborated with celebrities and businesses to create personalized soaps to appeal to their fan base – like the Spanish Fly soap Garcia created for a Houston Chicano rapper, a ginger lemongrass blend with Sushi Bar and even a grapefruit essential oil soap for PRODUCE. Now the sky is the limit. Garcia intends to continue to pursue national chains like Urban Outfitters and grow the company. “Since figuring out how these operations work, we’re looking to expanding to other markets, other stores,” he said. “Now that I know who to talk to, and where and why and how, I intend to find the beauty buyer at these corporate companies. They’re so much more accessible than I thought.” He’s assembled a team, which he says is the most rewarding part of his business. “Aaron Ybarra created the logo for me, Dustin Ashcraft did the photos for the website, Bird’s Rubber Stamps made the stamp that we use on all our packaging,” he said. So it’s all working together to make a cohesive whole that is moving forward rapidly – rapidly enough that Garcia intends to enter law school in 2015 and partially fund it with Dirty Dog products. Garcia’s story is the American dream at its finest – the American dream coming together with a lot of hard work and elbow grease and a little bit of luck. This Dirty Dog is one lucky dog!

For more information on Dirty Dog Soap Company or to place an order, go to


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CLEAR YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD Expunction versus nondisclosure: Do you qualify? By: GABRIEL VASQUEZ

Statute of Limitations has run, prior criminal history and whether charges are still pending. The best option to clear your criminal record is to petition a court for an Order for Expungement. An Order of Expungement is a remedy found in Chapter 55 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, wherein the court orders that all records including records of the arrest and court documents be completely “erased.” This remedy is only available under limited circumstances, but a successful petition will entitle the person to legally deny the arrest ever occurred.

AS A TEXAS ATTORNEY, I often deal with good-hearted people who, at one time or another, had a lapse in their personal judgment and were arrested and faced criminal charges. Unfortunately, these lapses in judgment can negatively affect them in the future when a background check is conducted, particularly when applying for a job or an apartment. Even an arrest that did not result in a final conviction will still appear on a criminal background check. For many potential employers or apartment managers, the fact that someone was arrested carries a negative stigma. Your eligibility to clear yourself from this negative stigma depends on several factors – most importantly, how the case was disposed of. Other factors include how much time has passed since the date of arrest, whether the


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Any case that results in any form of probation, including deferred adjudication probation or a final conviction, cannot be expunged unless a pardon is granted by the governor of Texas. Another consideration for the eligibility of a petition for expunction is the statutory waiting period that begins from the date of arrest. The waiting periods are 180 days for a Class C Misdemeanor, one year for Class A and B Misdemeanors and three years for felonies. Another option for clearing your criminal record would apply only to individuals who have successfully completed a deferred adjudicated probation. Deferred adjudicated probation is a form of probation that results in a dismissal of the charge


A person may only apply for an expunction if: • The person is found not guilty after a trial • The person is granted a pardon • The criminal charges were ultimately dismissed • The Statute of Limitations for charges to be filed has ended

upon successful completion of a probation term. Note that while there will not be a conviction, the record of the arrest will still show up on a criminal background check, thereby creating that negative stigma. An individual who has successfully completed a deferred adjudicated probation may petition the court for an Order of Nondisclosure. An Order of Nondisclosure, found in Section 411.081 of the Texas Government Code, essentially “seals” the arrest and court documents from the general public and private entities. An Order of Nondisclosure will not seal the existence of the arrest or the deferred adjudicated sentence from law enforcement and government agencies. A few other entities as outlined in the statute will also have access to this information, including state licensing and regulatory agencies, schools and hospitals. As with the procedure for an expunction, there may be a waiting period; however, for an Order for Nondisclosure, the waiting period begins on the date the individual was discharged from his probation rather than the date of the arrest. For most misdemeanors, there is no waiting period, so the defendant can petition for an Order of Nondisclosure immediately after his deferred adjudication is discharged and his case is dismissed. For some misdemeanors, the waiting period is two years after the date of discharge from probation. Successfully completing deferred adjudication probation for a felony, the petitioner must wait five years after the date of discharge. Another requisite is that during the “waiting period,” the individual must not have been convicted of or placed on deferred adjudicated probation for a new crime. The statute outlines certain offenses that are not eligible for nondisclosure, so it is important to consult with an attorney. Even though an individual has followed all of the procedures and qualifies for an Order of Nondisclosure, the judge still has discretion whether or not to grant the Order of Nondisclosure. As with the expungement, in successfully getting an Order of Nondisclosure, the individual may deny the occurrence of the arrest and the subsequent prosecution. Do not let that negative stigma follow you for the rest of your life it does not have to. Relax and know what to expect when a criminal background check is pulled on you. You should consult with an attorney regarding your personal circumstances to determine if you qualify for expunction or an Order of Nondisclosure.

For more information, contact Gabriel Vasquez at or 361-885-7950.

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Carlisle Insurance talks the importance of flood insurance and why windstorm coverage isn’t always enough

Since we can’t predict what Mother Nature will throw our way next, it is important to find the right insurance plan to cover you when the unexpected happens. This includes multiple coverage plans for different types of natural disasters. Many insurance policies do not include every type of weather coverage, so it is important to get a plan for each type of weather that


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could – and likely will – affect you. When it comes to different types of coverage, it is important to never skimp on a coverage plan. You need to cover your property from each and every type of extreme weather. Many people believe windstorm coverage is enough to cover them in the case of a hurricane or tropical storm. However, a separate plan for flood insurance is vital in helping you claim what is owed after a storm damages your home or business. So what is the big difference between windstorm insurance and flood insurance? Windstorm insurance is very important in coastal states. The typical property insurance policy excludes cov-


erage for wind and hail for properties located in coastal areas. The right windstorm insurance plan can cover your property in the event of a powerful hurricane and make it easier to move on after the storm. These policies typically cover a property in the case of damage from wind, wind-driven rain and hail, but exclude “flood.” Flood insurance works differently from windstorm insurance. In the case of many storms, flooding can occur. In the case of flood insurance, the term “flood” generally means the overflow or rapid accumulation of waters or mud from any source on the surface of normally dry-land areas. A single inch of



water in or on a property can cause damage that costs upwards of $10,000 to repair. Flood insurance is easily affordable, while the damage caused by a flood often is not. Because most windstorm policies exclude flood, it is essential that you purchase a separate policy to cover flooding associated with a hurricane. Flood insurance is available to anyone who owns a home or business. It is an important piece of any insurance policy because floods can happen anywhere – even in areas where floods are not common. Flood insurance is a vital part of any insurance program because floods (even small ones) can cause tremendous damage and harm to your property. Flood insurance is especially important in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). In many cases, people who own property in these areas are required by law to have a flood insurance policy. SFHAs are generally coastal or low-lying regions, but they are not the only places floods occur. Floods are likely to happen in any area when there is enough rain or water to cause damage to homes and property. More than 25 percent of floods occur in areas outside of identified SFHA. Floods are one of the few examples of extreme weather that can affect everyone in all regions, making it that much more important to have proper coverage. If you don’t have flood insurance, you will likely have to pay all the damage caused by a flood on your own. There are ways to get reimbursed for damage from a flood, but will still cost more than a flood insurance deductible. In addition, when people do not pay for flood insurance, it costs more for state and federal disaster relief. Flood insurance keeps these costs down for all taxpayers and makes recovery after a disaster that much easier – and cheaper. Flood insurance is vital for all property owners, both commercial and personal, because floods are not restricted to certain areas. Flood insurance makes it easier and less expensive to get your home or property repaired after a flood. Adding flood insurance to your policy, in addition to windstorm insurance, can help protect your property from all types of damage caused by hurricanes and tropical storms, and make it easier to have peace of mind in the future. Carlisle Insurance is located at 500 N. Water St., Ste. 900, in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, call 361884-2775 or visit I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M




Ethan Allen: making homes beautiful, comfortable reflections of clients in the Coastal Bend for more than 40 years By: LIZA CRAIN

LIZA CRAIN studied fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design in New York, N.Y. Having worked with Ethan Allen for more than six years, she utilizes her fashion design background to enhance her work in interiors. She takes a unique approach to her projects and details them with fashionable sensibility. Crain designs a room for each individual client with their best interest at heart. She is very in tune with current trends, and she does not shy away from reinventing a client’s space. She values each client and the individual style they wish to create for their space.  

IT REALLY CAN BE an enjoyable experience to work with a professional designer if you want your home to be a reflection of you. We can collaborate on the design style that you want to enjoy. This look, while vibrant and exciting, is still very distinct with its fabric choices and layers of different pieces. Every piece has a purpose and is inviting to the eye. The other point to make about this room is that all key seating in the space is brought close together for an intimate setting. The flow for your guests in and out of the room is easy. Also, when choosing the seating in the room, make sure it is both beautiful and comfortable. When building off of the key pieces in the space, you should pick pieces that enhance look. Some clients like the most current trends, but others prefer the room to be timeless. We love to do both. Artwork is personal to most people, so you should make sure you always enjoy looking at the pieces you select. Lighting is key for the ambiance of the room in the evening. Accent tables should also be functional rather than just added for the look. Area rugs anchor the room and offer more coziness to spaces. Drapery is often added to accent the windows, so it is not overly formal or embellished as in the past. All of that said, we usually pick colors for the furniture based on a chosen wall color to really plan for a cohesive and beautiful room. They say your home is an investment, and I say so is what you put in it. One rule to follow is to have fun during this process. It should never be daunting or frustrating. Pick colors that are pleasing to your eye and patterns that you enjoy looking at. To reiterate, take time to try your seating selections for everyday comfort. Families with young children have to make your space usable and livable – and we cannot forget that pets are family, too. The fabric choices should be taken into consideration for constant use. This does not mean you can’t make the room true to your style. If you can imagine your room, we can design it! At Ethan Allen, you truly do become family when we venture into your project together. I enjoy meeting the client for the first time and visiting their home to start planning what room or rooms they want transformed. I really listen to their needs first and foremost before I even begin to create floor plans for the space. It is not about just filling a room with furniture; it is about the everyday use and the enjoyment of the room. The bonus, of



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course, is the beauty of it in the end. We can create any look the client desires, which most people don’t know about us. We create beautiful coastal looks, luxurious ranch styles, sophisticated sanctuaries and modern lofts. We do it all. Each home will always have its own style because we never duplicate designs. That is what I love the most about working with Ethan Allen. It allows our clients to really make selections that represent who they are, and as a designer, I get to tie the whole look together. As a project progresses, the client can see how much time and care we place with them and their home, which creates a bond. We enjoy seeing a client come in five – sometimes even 20 – years later for some designers and tell us they are ready to do another home or another room. We especially are complimented when a client refers us to friends or family. I truly enjoy working with Ethan Allen’s beautiful design center and my fellow extremely talented designers. I hope you will come and visit us and join the Ethan Allen family. Mr. Thompson brought Ethan Allen to this city more than 40 years ago with a clear vision. We are so grateful he did. His desire to offer such beauty and quality to our clients is clearly seen in thousands of homes and businesses all over. We hope you will visit our design center, see all of the beautiful selections we have to offer and start on your project soon.

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At CCIA, police, fire and medical professionals stand ready for anything.


desperate to get home to their family to celebrate the holiday.” It just so happened that they drove the same kind of car as Frazier did, so he went to his personal vehicle, retrieved his own spare and helped them change the tire. “The lady later wrote a letter thanking me for helping them out,” Frazier says. That kind of scenario plays out often at CCIA.


WHEN YOU THINK of security at an airport, most people think of the TSA. After all, it’s the Transportation Safety Administration, which is responsible for screening people and luggage before they are allowed on commercial airplanes. But there is another element of security in play at Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) that many of our customers don’t know about. If you haven’t come into contact with a CCIA public safety officer, that’s probably a good thing. It probably means you haven’t run into any trouble during your visits to CCIA. It also means you probably haven’t met Lt. Raleigh Frazier, who came to work at the airport nearly 20 years ago. At the time, he was fresh out of the U.S. Air Force and looking for a career that would allow him to use the education and military training he had under his belt. In the Air Force, Frazier was an aircraft rescue firefighter. When he joined the military, he already had a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. What do you get when you combine law enforcement and firefighting? You get exactly what is re-


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quired to keep people, property and aircrafts safe at an airport.


Frazier has nearly a dozen certifications in firefighting, law enforcement, emergency medical care and training. He and his fellow public safety officers put their expertise to work every day at CCIA. When not responding to emergencies, officers are patrolling the airport, helping tenants and customers with problems that arise and enforcing local and state laws dealing with traffic, parking and the general security and safety of all who come and go at CCIA. There are times when CCIA’s public safety officers go above and beyond the call of duty. Frazier recalls a late night one Christmas Eve when a couple arrived on a flight only to find that their vehicle in the parking lot had a flat tire and they had no spare. “They were really upset,” Frazier says. “The weather was nasty, and they were

CCIA consists of about 2,700 acres of land. It’s like a small city consisting of public streets, parking lots, a large terminal, an airfield, runways and about a dozen private businesses that operate on airport property. Commercial airports are heavily regulated by the federal government, which requires that we have fire, police and emergency medical protection at all times. It’s been said that airports are among the safest places on earth. If that’s true, it’s no accident. Public safety officers at CCIA work shifts that are similar to other police and fire forces. They provide fire protection 24 hours a day and are always ready for whatever comes their way. They respond to calls about traffic accidents, fights, suspicious activity, emergency landings, heart attacks and customers who just need some kind of help. They prepare for the unthinkable and stand ready to respond to any kind of emergency. When a pilot radios in with a mechanical or other problem on board, it is CCIA’s public safety officers who rush to the runway with the skills and equipment needed to manage the situation in a way that protects life and property. Air travel has changed so much since 9/11. Airports have changed, too. The one thing we know is that anything can happen. Anytime. Anywhere. So if you find yourself wondering who is keeping an eye on things at CCIA, just remember that Frazier and his fellow public safety officers are out on patrol. They’re out on airport streets, in the parking lot and in and around the terminal and the airfield. They are watching over us and taking steps to keep the peace. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming part of the airport public safety force, please contact the airport public safety office at 289-0171, ext. 1221.  Kim Bridger is the marketing manager at CCIA. For more information, contact her at

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The aptly named new restaurant opens its doors at Embassy Suites Corpus Christi. By: LISA HINOJOSA


ollowing the unveiling of its epic remodel in February, Embassy Suites Corpus Christi quickly moved on to another high-priority project. Next up on the menu: repackaging and renaming the newly renovated onsite restaurant, Impressions. A fitting moniker, Impressions replaces the previous name of Oasis Fare. And the name says it all. General Manager Melody Nixon-Bice boiled down the rationale without mincing words: “Simply put, Impressions leaves an impression.” Impressions is meant as a modern, contemporary and less cumbersome interpretation of the hotel’s restaurant. “We wanted the new restau-

rant to complement the transformation of the rest of the hotel, and what better way to accomplish that than starting with a clean slate?” Nixon-Bice said. “We feel that Impressions gives a modern, chic vibe that you just don’t get from Oasis Fare.” The new and improved full-service hotel aims to make a new, but lasting impression on its guests, its community and, of course, the brand. Still, the diners and guests were top of mind, according to Deven Bhakta, CEO of ZJZ Hospitality Inc., the hotel’s management company. “We knew we needed to satisfy Hilton requirements for a restaurant, but at the same time, satisfy and exceed the needs of our guests,” Bhakta


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said. “There are 50-plus restaurants within five minutes, so we focused on a menu and concept that would cater to the guest who is in a rush while still retaining an attractive ambience and selections that appeal to the guests who are here for business meetings and gatherings.” Impressions extends beyond the casual diners to large-scale events and meetings – for example, the restaurant also services clients holding catered functions in the hotel. From banquet dinners to luncheons to business meetings, Impressions offers an array of options certain to fit any need or preference. Whatever the request, Impressions means to … well, impress. The eatery maintains affordable pricing accompanied by a high value.


Flavors and seasonings are carefully considered, and customer service is a primary focus. The new menu includes the expected Americana fare, but with a few flourishes. Several nutritious entrees have been added with the health-conscious diner (and traveler) in mind. While the restaurant offers lunch and dinner to the general public, the management team is quick to explain that it is more than just another eatery; rather, they consider it an “experience.” “Impressions is part of Embassy Suites’ onestop-shop experience that encompasses luxe guest rooms, amazing ambiance and customer service – all topped off with delicious food … perfect for business and leisure travelers alike,” Nixon-Bice said. “You just can’t get that from any other local spot.” ZJZ Hospitality Inc. opened Impressions quick on the heels of the February grand unveiling of Embassy Suites’ major renovations. With the multi-million-dollar remodel coming to an end, the hotel management company had quite a bit on its plate. When it came time to rename the restaurant, the organization looked to its team members, holding a hotel-wide contest to select the winning tag. “The employees of the hotel have led the renovation process, from helping guests through unique situations to moving debris and directing construction workers,” Bhakta said. “All things considered, they may have been the happiest to see everything come to an end. I recognized that and wanted the entire team to stay involved and to feel acknowledged for their part in the renovation.” Impressions was suggested by a team member in the food and beverage department, and after careful consideration, the management team collectively landed on the selection. “Our hotel is in a new era, and we needed something that speaks to how we want people to feel when they dine with us,” Nixon-Bice said. “We’ve made some notable changes to the look and feel of the restaurant that have met with very positive feedback, and that was our overall goal.” Restaurant hours for the public are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (lunch) and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (dinner). For more information, contact Lisa Hinojosa at 361-653-4656 or


g n i m o c oon! s

3001 N. SHORELINE BLVD 361.793.1166

The Best View in Town! I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



TWICE AS NICE Support local farmers and astound your taste buds by treating yourself to this crust-less vegetable quiche. By: MANDY ASHCRAFT Photo by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

Corpus Christi has two farmers’ markets: Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to noon in the market shopping center next to the Palace on Everhart, and Wednesday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. downtown next to the Tango Tea Room on Water Street. Local farmers and growers display a colorful choice of ingredients perfect to make this crust-less quiche. Great for a summer brunch, you can slice into this veggie-packed dish knowing that with each delicious bite, you’re supporting local farming efforts. There’s nothing better than that!


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2 tablespoons butter 1 cup sliced zucchini 1 cup sliced yellow squash 1 small purple onion, coarsely chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup baby spinach 6 small tomatoes such as black cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cottage cheese 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 6 fresh farm eggs 1/4 cup milk 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top (approximately 1 tablespoon) Optional: 1/2 cup chopped apple gouda chicken sausage (recommended)

Who can show you the way home?


1/ Preheat oven to 375. Heat butter over medium heat, and add zucchini, squash and onion. Sauté until soft, cooked through and slightly browned. Add garlic, then spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted. Add 3 of the sliced tomatoes. Remove from heat. If using sausage, add to mix and toss all ingredients together. 2/ In a bowl, whisk the eggs together with milk, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Add cottage cheese and sharp cheddar. 3/ Pour vegetable mixture into 9-inch greased pie pan, and pour egg mixture over the top. Use remaining 3 sliced tomatoes to decorate the top, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.

❚ ROXANNE URBAN is based on honesty, integrity and loyalty. ❚ It is about people, relationships, and service. ❚ Whether buying an existing home or building a new one, the process is a full time job, from financing, appraisals, to arranging title services. YOU want an experienced professional on your side. ❚ Roxanne will personally guarantee her success and yours. Her question to you,”How may I serve you on your next purchase or sale of your home?”

4/ Bake 30 minutes.

361.994.5015 For more information, visit

Roxanne Urban-Malphus


5638 SARATOGA BLVD. STE. 112-A CORPUS CHRISTI TX 78414 (Kohl’s Shopping Center) I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M



SOMETHING SPECIAL The rebirth of the Historic Ritz Theatre may serve as the ultimate tipping point for downtown Corpus Christi. And it may change your life. By: MONICA SAWYER


1929. As it was the first “talking” movie theatre in South Texas, the community was star struck and the sidewalks couldn’t hold the crowds flocking to downtown on a nightly basis. Actors and dignitaries (and we hear even a president or two) warmed the seats at many movie premieres hosted by “one of the finest theatres in the state.” Howard Hughes listed the Ritz on his roster through his United Artists Corporation. Our soldiers were honored during USO celebrations, and patrons escaped their daily grind through films and vaudeville comedy. Then rock ‘n’ roll came to town. Before anyone was freaking out about him, Elvis played a free show at the Ritz after his show at the Centre Theater sold out (according to a firsthand account from a past Ritz employee). Fast-forward to the ‘70s when the Ritz (then called the Ritz Music Hall) supported up-and-coming artists like the Pointer Sisters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Metallica, Rush and more.


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By the late ‘80s, after years of community drama performances, the Ritz was worn out, shut down and forgotten. The community had given up on downtown by then, and this sad state of affairs lasted almost 20 years. Thankfully, by the time I discovered the Ritz, downtown was experiencing what is still a slow and difficult, but worthy revitalization. So why is the Ritz going to change things? Let’s put aside the fact that restored historic theatres have proven to bring in major dollars (billions) in economic impact to cities like ours (and some in worse shape than ours). I won’t focus on the 60 percent of our needed funding


orpus Christi is finally tuning in to the fact that the restoration of the Historic Ritz Theatre is something special. It’s not a “let’s keep a pretty building” kind of special. It’s more like a “change your life” kind of special. There are many important projects going on in Corpus Christi, but the Ritz will prove to be a sparkling, signature piece to our big puzzle of progress that is sure to change your life and mine. The Ritz Theatre opened to huge fanfare 85 years ago on Christmas Day,

that waits in opportunity for us once the community helps us raise the first 40 percent. (It’s like the government put theatre restoration on sale – but for a limited time! Must act now!) What is already tipping the scale is the wealth of connections wrapped up in the Ritz, and the resulting impact the city will experience from those connections. Discussing the Ritz as a tipping point for Corpus Christi can be quite a debate. If you are an analytical person, you might say, “you can’t quantify inspiration, pride and hope!” And you might be right. Some people want guarantees. “How do I know it’s going to work?” you ask. Ultimately, there are no guarantees. But if you look closely, you’ll understand that the restoration is already working. The Ritz is already elevating and changing lives. Historic theatres, especially fancy “atmospheric” theatres, have the unique ability to be relevant and exciting to every age group, interest and income level. For example, guided by the leadership of architect Laura Bennett, Del Mar College created an architecture and drafting class around the Ritz. Students crawled into every nook and cranny to redraw the plans for the building (which we didn’t have and desperately needed). Thanks to Bennett, the plans will be housed in the national Library of Congress. From an entertainment perspective, almost every musician croons over all the big talent who once stood in the very same spot on the Ritz stage. Clarissa Serna, who appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” this year, has already been a catalyst for progress in just a few short months. She connected us to Chicas Rock, a local music camp for young girls. Watching the impact the Ritz had on these rockin’ kids made it crystal clear how important it is that the landmark be restored. Once restored, the Ritz will again be a home for film, comedy, dance, drama and especially music. The dynamic programming being planned means something will always be going on. Imagine drama classes for our students, vintage and independent film festivals and up-andcomers and icons gracing the stage to perform in an intimate setting with history all around you. With its sparkling marquee visible as you drive in from the highway, the Ritz will be a solid connection between the hotels and restaurants and the SEA District, beckoning visitors to explore and inspiring them to keep coming back. The Ritz is an icon for hope, change and the rebirth of our downtown. It will change your life if you let it.

Where adults come to enjoy

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tues: HappY Hour 3-7 (top 100 Hits) Wed: HappY Hour 3-7 (top 40 Hits) tHurs: HappY Hour 3-7 (80's / 90's musiC) Fri: HappY Hour 3-7 (true Jazz) sat: HappY Hour 3-7 (lounge Jazz) sun: HappY Hour 3-7 (lounge Jazz) (live Jazz) 1/2 oFF appetizers From 5-9 drink speCials: $3 Well / $4 Call $4 martinis $4 margaritas $4 Wine (seleCt)

6314 Yorktown Blvd Corpus Christi, tX 78414 361.980.3799


Monica Sawyer is the president of Corpus Christi PATCH, which is dedicated to restoring the Ritz. For more information, visit, call 361-887-6055 or email

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MAKE PEACE WITH YOUR HAIR Having a bad hair day?

Hair Peace Salon & Beauty Sanctum is here to help! By: JENNIFER GROZA



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Ever have one of those mornings when you wake up and your hair is … well, out of control? When you just can’t get it to look decent? Well, we all have! Every woman living in South Texas must learn to handle the frizzy hair from the humidity, the heat from the sun, the salt and the wind. However, there is a solution to those crazy hair mornings so you can make peace with your hair. Hair Peace Salon & Beauty Sanctum is a Redken 5th Avenue Salon under the guidance of Sandra Glover, owner and certified Redken Color and Design Specialist. “South Texas can be challenging,” Glover said. “We have clients come in with dry, brittle hair every day. As a Redken salon, we have access to new products that can repair the weather damage and prepare their hair for those summer days outdoors. Redken has many solutions for all different types of hair.” Redken is known for its scientific approach to hair products. New on the market is the Redken Extreme product line, which is perfect for the South Texas climate. It offers not only specialty treatments for your already damaged hair, but a shampoo and a conditioner that use a fortifying complex to restore and repair hair while protecting the hair’s natural shine and providing internal strength. Pillow Proof, another new product from Redken, offers women on the run an alternative solution to the quick style while repairing and protecting their hair. The Blow Dry Express priming spray cuts blow-dry time in half while protecting it from heat up to 450 degrees, reducing breakage and providing 24-hour lasting volume without weighing hair down. In a hurry, the Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two-Day Extender & Oil Absorbing Dry Shampoo instantly refreshes hair and absorbs oil, extending the life of your blow-dry by two days. So when you have one of those crazy mornings, remember that Redken and Hair Peace Salon & Beauty Sanctum can offer you the best in coloring, style and cut, extensions and keratin treatments, as well as the finest hair care and beauty experience in the Coastal Bend. Make peace with your hair.

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Make sure your bling stays beautiful by following a few basic tips for jewelry care and maintenance. By: TERRY SCHADE

YOU MUST TAKE CARE of your jewelry to keep it dazzling for a lifetime. I have never seen a piece of jewelry that is maintenance-free. Whether a cherished heirloom or a beautiful engagement ring, there are many things you can do to keep your jewelry looking amazing and avoid costly repairs.

How we wear our jewelry can impact not only its luster, but also its long-term durability. Here is a basic list of when you should not wear jewelry:   1. SLEEP: A definite no-no is wearing a necklace to bed. The amount of stress pulling, stretching and tugging away at that jewelry piece will shorten its lifespan tenfold. Rings should also be removed, unless you are trying to smack your sleeping partner on the head with them; you could physically damage the finish or prongs by hitting an unintended target.   2. BATHING TIME: While it may be a great way to keep you feeling and looking refreshed, jewelry should not join you in the tub or the shower. Soaps cause a film that will build up and take the sparkle right out of any piece of jewelry.   3. HOUSEWORK AND CHORES: Unless Oprah is stopping by to pay a visit while you are doing dishes or other household chores, you should avoid wearing your jewelry while doing housework (especially gardening and landscaping chores). Aside from the obvious that you could physically damage jewelry by hitting something, household cleaners can contain chemicals that not only ruin the finish of a jewelry piece, but also corrupt the integrity. Finally, think about your own personal safety. Rings and necklaces have a tendency to get caught on things at the most inopportune times. That necklace can easily become a choking hazard, and I have seen fingers lost when a wedding band gets caught on something that wouldn’t let go.   4. MAKEUP APPLICATION: Make sure you put on jewelry after you put on your makeup. Cosmetics, hairsprays and lotions all contain chemicals that may damage your jewelry, not to mention the film that can be left behind, which will hide the original shine.   5. POOLS AND SPAS: Chlorine in these relaxing activities can react with metal used in fine jewelry. This may cause discoloration or even corrosion of the metal.   6. SPORTS: I think this should speak for itself. Not only is it likely you will damage your jewelry, but you will likely end up hurting yourself or someone else.


What? Your exquisite diamond engagement ring doesn’t sparkle any more? Keeping your jewelry cleaned requires just a little effort in order to keep that sparkle bright to impress your friends and family. Here are a few basic pointers:  

1. USE A JEWELRY POLISHING CLOTH: A polishing cloth intended solely for jewelry use can go a long way to keeping your jewelry beautiful – a wise investment for under $10. The use of tissue or paper towels can cause scratches because of fibers in these products. 2. TENDER LOVING CARE: Commercial jewelry cleaners can be very inexpensive. Some of the worst ideas include cleaning with a toothpaste or bleach; you should also avoid anything abrasive. The best idea is to take it back to the jeweler you purchased it from. Most local jewelers will be happy to keep it looking glamorous for you at no charge and inspect it to ensure it doesn’t need additional maintenance.   3. SIMPLE LUKEWARM WATER: This is the safest bet in a pinch.   4. ALREADY DAMAGED PIECES: Avoid cleaning or handling a piece of jewelry that is already damaged; you could make matters worse. Set the item aside, and have it professionally evaluated at your earliest convenience.   5. INSPECT YOUR JEWELRY: Keep an eye on your jewelry. Visually inspect your items from time to time just to ensure nothing has been hit or damaged. Again, your local jeweler would be happy to do this for you and even provide assistance as to what you should be looking for.

I hope this information provides you with a solid foundation of information to take better care of your jewelry. For more detailed information and caring for specific gemstones such as opals, pearls and emeralds, see your local jeweler. In the next issue, we will address what to do when you need jewelry repair, how to store your jewelry and how to ship expensive jewelry items. In 1979, the Schade family founded CASA DE ORO JEWELERS, which remains locally owned and operated. TERRY SCHADE is a vice president and owner. To learn more about this topic or ask any other jewelry-related questions, contact Schade at 361-991-7054 or, or visit Casa de Oro Jewelers online at


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Valerie Perez Owner of RBV’s Downtown Freeze LLC


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About Me: I am 24 years old and married to Abelardo Perez Jr. I am currently working on my music education degree at TAMUK. My best friend is my twin sister, Virginia. I absolutely love fitness and music. When I am not running my yogurt lounge, I fill my life with both activities. I am a devout Catholic who lives for Him. Family and friends are what make me the happiest.

e l y t s

e c an


t s b su

my philosophy: Set goals, obtain them and live life by aiding the world to be a better place.


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quote to li v

y: eb


Life is getting up an hour early to live an hour more.�

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5440 Everhart, Corpus Christi, TX 78411 / 361.947.6274 / 58

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Chicas Rock and Turntable Academy transform area youth and build their self-confidence by empowering them through music. By: SARAH TINDALL

CHICAS ROCK and Turntable Academy have spent the last few years changing the way Corpus Christi thinks about kids’ music programs. Chicas, which started four years ago as a summer camp for girls, has grown into a year-round program with dozens of participants. The concept is revolutionary; the girls enter the program and are immediately one of the band. They are broken up into groups who write and learn to play songs, which they then perform for each other. They learn how to write music, play instruments and sing, but along the way, they learn something else: self-confidence. “The idea was for creating a space just for girls where they could express themselves and build their self-esteem and confidence through music creation and performance in a cool environment,” says Cecy Trevino, the founder of the organization. She is herself a musician, and she says that growing up as a female musician in the male-dominated musical world and being Hispanic made her feel strongly that she needed to reach out to young girls to help them along in the industry.


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Turntable Academy has proven equally successful in appealing to boys. Boys enter the program and are taught the basics of being a DJ – how to use the equipment, how to use the beats and the music itself to create art and how to interact with a crowd. But they’re also learning self-confidence. According to Founder Dusty Oliveira, for the boys in his program, the notoriety and respect

they get from peers is life-changing. “We had two boys in particular who came in super shy, but now they are the coolest guys in Corpus. They couldn’t find their calling in sports or whatever, couldn’t find what they were good at, and then they find their home here. We have a bunch of kids who went through our program that are DJs now, and you can just see it in their walks that they have the self-confidence and pride in what they’ve accomplished. When they’re spinning, everybody comes up to listen to them. The other DJs know who they are.” Now Chicas and Turntable are gearing up for the annual weeklong summer camp that has remained a mainstay of their program since the beginning. This year, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi will host the camp, which will run from July 28 to Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the university’s campus. Kids ages 8 to 17 will

be able to participate, but only 60 to 80 will be allowed in camp, so slots fill up fast. The girls will be placed in groups of four to six and given instruments, and each group will be assigned a band coach who stays with them all week. They will then write an original song, which they will perform at the end of the week for the group of parents and friends who gather to watch the show. The instruments are guitars, bass guitars, drums and keyboard. The formula is working. “We had one girl come in who was so shy that her mom and I had to hold her hand to get her to come into camp,” Trevino says. “By the end of the week, she got up with the band and sang a song. Her mom couldn’t believe it and started to cry. It’s amazing how this experience can transform these kids.” The goal is not for the girls to just learn music. “It’s more like they learn how to build their confidence and self-esteem,” Trevino says. “Turning girls into rock stars is not our main goal; rather, we are a program dedicated to empowerment.” The camp also features motivational speakers for the kids, who seek to inspire them to broaden their horizons and teach them to make goals and

aspirations and work hard to achieve them. “It’s crazy how it happens. The kids come in here not knowing how to play or sing one note, and by the end of the week, they look great up there, performing a song they wrote. In between songs during the performance, the boys get up and DJ, and they’re all showing each other support and cheering each other on. It’s like a mini festival.” When camp is not in session, Chicas and Turntable offer after-school sessions for kids to continue honing their skills and give them the opportunity to perform in real venues. They do everything from writing their own music to learning the covers they play when performing locally to making their own set lists and making their signature denim vests covered in patches for the performances. The girls are even responsible for promoting their own shows by making flyers and posting them around town and using social media to get the word out. They perform at Buc Days, ArtWalk events, ARTrageous at the art museum, fundraisers and even shows with Clarissa Serna. “Chicas Rock is now a local band,” Trevino says. “They come in to perform, switch instruments

and have name recognition when we are out in the community.” Now the group has become like a family. When one of the girls had a parent pass away in a tragic accident, all of the girls came together to do a fundraiser for her family. The parents are involved, as well, and they help the girls do everything from transport instruments to decorate the Buc Days float. And all of the kids participate in community outreach activities like cleaning up the water gardens and volunteering for other local organizations. The Turntable boys are out in the community, too; some of them are actually making the party circuit, earning money and building a reputation. “These are kids who didn’t feel special in school, didn’t feel like they had anything to offer, but when they are in here, they feel like the coolest kids in town,” Oliveira says. “They learn they can do anything here.” The next step for both programs is an urgent need for more space. They have outgrown the space at PRODUCE downtown on Peoples Street and are looking for a bigger space in a more central location so that more kids can participate. The goal is to expand with more classes and even private lessons, as well as to have 24-hour access to the facility so that the students can come work and play any time they are free. As a result, the future looks bright for these youth outreach programs. “Music is hard to perform onstage because you’re doing something nobody else can do and it’s so personal,” Trevino says. “Our kids are showing themselves to the crowd and putting themselves out there, and it’s amazing to watch.” For more information about Chicas Rock and Turntable Academy, or to register for summer camp or the after-school program, go to

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waited for several months before her perfect match adopted her on May 7, 2014.


The importance of choosing personality over beauty when adopting dogs and cats By: KAITLIN CALK

AS IF IT WASN’T obvious from the blazing sun and the typical South Texas heat, summer is upon us! Many people take advantage of this season by going on vacation, spending the day at the beach or even just relaxing on the couch with a good book. The summer months also see a rise in pet adoptions. While it is fantastic that people choose to spend their time off from work or school to adopt a homeless dog or cat, it is extremely important to adopt an animal whose energy and personality suits your lifestyle. It is easy to walk into an animal shelter and choose an animal that is “pretty,” but when an adoption is based solely on what the animal looks like, that animal is often returned. This is not only stressful for the people involved, but very traumatic for the animal. Raising an animal is a 10- to 15-year commitment, and the decision to adopt requires plenty of consideration. Before even setting foot in an animal shelter, it is a good idea to have a serious conversation with the family about what everyone is looking for in a furry companion. The same goes for someone who lives alone. If your family loves to spend weekends outdoors being active, an equally active dog will make those outings much more fun. If you prefer to spend your days indoors on the couch, adopting a couch potato of a dog or a cat that loves to cuddle would be a great decision. If you have small children or if small children frequently visit your home, it is important to adopt an animal that gets along well with children. If you do not have children, but plan to within the next 10 to 15 years, it is still important to take home an animal that will adjust well to this big change. Remember, this is a huge commitment. You need to consider every aspect of your life before you open your home and heart to a dog or cat. When you have decided what kind of personality you are looking for in an animal, it is time to visit an animal shelter. This can be overwhelming because you do not know the personalities of the animals. Animal shelters are generally very

loud places, as well, and this alone can cause someone to leave a shelter without a dog. It is important to remember not to judge dogs based on the behavior they display in the kennel. A dog that is barking and jumping around behind those bars may actually be a very quiet, calm dog when he or she is in a different environment. The same goes for cats: A cat

YOU NEED TO CONSIDER EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR HOME AND HEART TO A DOG OR CAT. that comes across as scared or shy in the cage may be a completely different cat in a home setting. This is when it is important to use the most valuable tool you have for adopting an animal: the shelter workers. These employees and volunteers handle the animals on a daily basis, so they often know the animals’ personalities very well. When you have narrowed down your choices to just a few dogs or cats, ask an employee if you can interact with them outside of their cages. Taking a dog for a walk or spending time with a cat in a quiet room will give you a much better idea of what their energy level and personality is like. And if you have children or even other pets, it is a good idea to take them along to meet this potential new family member so that everyone can be in agreement. When an animal is adopted simply because he or she is aesthetically pleasing and then returned a short time later because he or she “just isn’t the right fit,” no one has been done any favors. When adopting an animal, just remember that your new best friend may not have a glossy white coat and bright blue eyes. If you take the time to choose an animal based on personality, he or she will make your life more beautiful than you could have imagined.

Located at 3118 Cabaniss Parkway in Corpus Christi, Texas, the Gulf Coast Humane Society houses more than 400 animals. If you would like to find your perfect match, simply ask for a matchmaker next time you visit! For more information, call 361-225-0845.


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Inspire Coastal Bend Business June/July 2014  
Inspire Coastal Bend Business June/July 2014