A Texas-certified educator, Alicia Lorena Tamez spent seven years testing numerous reading curriculums on her first-grade students. She balanced teaching with nighttime graduate studies, and, once she earned her master’s degree in reading, drew upon those skills and experiences to start All-Star Readers Learning Center. Along with an expert staff, Alicia runs a preschool program for children aged 18 months to 5 years and an after-school tutoring program for kids aged 5–12. The preschoolers learn a variety of writing styles during lessons at five activity centers, each based on disciplines such as literacy, math, and art. At the after-school program, meanwhile, staffers tailor activities such as mini lessons, independent writing time, and student-teacher conferences around each pupil’s individual needs. Along with the core programs, All-Star Readers Learning Center hosts story time at a local Barnes & Noble every third Saturday of the month, where parents learn useful teaching strategies such as yelling passages of Ulysses very loudly.
Whether they're painting flowers, monarch butterflies, or reproductions of famous Van Gogh paintings, the students at Teresa Fernández's art school learn classic techniques while letting their own unique perspectives shine. As a former university-level art-history teacher and longtime mixed-media artist, Teresa has worked with many students over her career. Today, she helps kids, teens, and adults realize their artistic potential in drawing and painting classes in which they learn to depict light, shadow, and texture.
Maria Chuchena's staff updates traditional Mexican cuisine to feature contemporary adaptations on their lunch and dinner menus. Dive into modern Mexican with an order of La Rosas—cheese empanadas topped with strawberry and rose petal sauce ($7). Beer-battered fish tacos ($9) or trio mixteco—grilled chicken topped with a mixture of adobo, mole verde, and poblano sauces ($12)—give spice to afternoons otherwise spent cataloguing DVDs by the number of actors in each one. Sautéed shrimp enchiladas ($12) and slow-braised duck carnitas ($15) surprise tongues with a twist of typical Mexican eats. The currently featured Viva Oaxaca tribute menu highlights the flavors of its eponymous region with dishes including ensalada de cabra, a goat cheese salad in mango vinaigrette ($9), and lengua de estofado, an oaxacan beef-tongue stew ($18).
The artistic shutterbugs at Santini Photography encourage their subjects to articulate their own vision for a photo shoot, allowing the photographers to tailor each shoot to encompass the client’s wishes. This creative collaboration yields a unique styling and relaxed atmosphere that captures the essence of a giggling infant, diploma-chewing high school graduate, or glowing mother-to-be. The third-generation boutique studio perfects portraits of groups as well as individuals, welcoming families for professionally lit sessions. After a photo shoot, clients can order prints for framing or acquire contemporary wall displays for covering up holes left from fly-swatting trebuchets still in testing.
Santini Photography also encourages donations to Operation Smile—a children’s medical charity that provides free surgeries for youth born with facial deformities—by offering photo sessions for those who donate.
Coronado Fun Cuts Hair Salon’s expert stylists coddle scalps with Redken and L'Oréal products. They put their certification with those products to work when performing an array of hair-pampering treatments. Well-versed in the minutiae of modern hairstyles and techniques, the team offers up a diverse menu of services, from waxing to deep-conditioning services that help hydrate hair and sustain healthy moisture levels more efficiently than installing a head-mounted fountain. The staff also specializes in chromatic makeovers, transforming the hue scheme of hairdos by rendering highlights, lowlights, and all-over-color treatments.