Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the people we love and appreciate, romantically or otherwise. It’s a day full of flowers, chocolates, and imagery of hearts and other things that connote love, gratitude, and appreciation.
But if you’re anything like me, a terrible shopper with a quite unimaginative mind, chances are you are too preoccupied trying to figure out what to gift your loved ones to enjoy this season of love and friendship. Don’t fret fam; Neta has your back.
Here’s a list of local artists, vendors, and writers offering neat gift ideas for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day:
1. Iced Cube Raspas – Raspa/Snack Stand
Iced Cube Raspas is one of those quintessentially valley spots that takes something familiar and loved, and just makes it better somehow. This little raspa stand in Elsa offers some of the Rio Grande Valley’s favorite snacks like Hot Cheetos with cheese, and raspas topped with pickles, diced fruits, sweet and sour candies of a wide variety, and of course, heavily drenched with chamoy. Sure, these are pretty standard offerings at most RGV snack stands, but there’s just something about the way they do things at Iced Cube Raspas that sets them apart. Maybe it’s their large portions, or the enticing photos they post on their media accounts that should probably come with a “NSFW” content warning, but whatever it is, it works. If raspa dates sounds like your thing, then Iced Cube Raspas is the place for you this Valentine’s Day.
2. Celeste De Luna – Artist
Celeste de Luna is a painter and printmaker from the Rio Grande Valley, whose work reflects “the complexity of relationships of borderland people and landscape.” Her work, she describes, explores themes like the migrant/border experiences of women and children, the Tejas landscape, and the spiritual struggle of conflicting identities, through iconography featuring razor wire, fences, bridges, and literal anchor babies. Celeste also is the artist behind Neta’s official mascot, the Tlacuache.
To learn more about Celeste, visit her website.
To purchase prints, stickers, or paintings from Celeste, visit her online store.
3. Amber Zuniga – Illustrator/Graphic Designer
Amber Zuniga is an illustrator and graphic designer from the Rio Grande Valley whose designs range from dramatic self portraits, to concha lounging, body-positive femmes, and cigarette smoking hotdogs in denim jackets. No matter the subject of her designs, the execution of her craft is always well done, using a unique and recognizable style of playful shapes, lines, and colors.
Visit Amber’s online shop at mkt.com/artfartmrkt.
4. Emmy Pérez – Poet
Emmy Pérez was raised in Santa Ana, but currently resides in the Rio Grande Valley where she teaches creative writing and Mexican American studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Her latest poetry book, “With the River on Our Face,” pays witness to Tejas borderlands communities, including the building of the border wall in the Rio Grande Valley. In this “poetry of resistance,” she also praises the land, the people, and the ecologies of borderland communities, with a focus on the Valley inspired by Gloria Anzaldúa’s work, her family history, her love of nature, and living and working in the borderlands. Pérez traveled to the river’s headwaters in Colorado and along the river’s path to Boca Chica for the organic images that appear in the work.
To learn more about Emmy and this poetry collection, visit: Click here.
To purchase “With the River on Our Face” from Amazon: Click here.
5. Salsa for President – Apparel
Created by Sandra Villarreal in October 2016, Salsa For President is an online brand dedicated to creating “cositas pa toda la banda inspired by cultura, cumbia and compis.” Villarreal offers a wonderful selection of tees, tanks, and tops with hot designs that are “made by hand y amor para el mundo entero.” Snag one of these heart-eyes and fire emoji inducing tops for that special chul@ in your life.
Oh, and just so you know, at Salsa for President, “se habla Inglés, sometimes.”
Visit the Salsa for President shop at: http://salsaforpresident.bigcartel.com/
Follow Salsa for President on social media:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/salsaforpresident/
Are we missing any local artists you’re supporting this Valentine’s Day? Let us know in the comments!