Get and Give Greetings of Tucson

By Stacey Gregory

Send a touch of Tucson to your family and friends across the country and around the world with greeting cards by Yours Truly Notecards. The colorful, fun, and fabulous collections feature famous icons and oddities found around Tucson. Choose from the likes of the Paul Bunyan-like lumberjack statue on Stone Ave. and Glenn St., the huge Tiki head that sits out front of The Hut on Fourth Avenue, and the neon saguaro sign on Oracle Road. The florals and landscapes collection features a variety of vibrant flora found in the desert southwest.

Yours Truly Notecards also partners with local charities to create limited-edition notecards, with 100% of all the proceeds going directly to support nonprofits, including Youth on Their Own and Ben’s Bells. What’s more, this family-owned business showcases the work of other Southern Arizona artists who donate a design for a limited-edition card with proceeds benefiting their local charity of choice.

Each card is the creation of Enrique Aldana. The amateur photographer started his side hustle at the urging of his daughter Sophie. Notecards, stickers, and puzzles are available online, with greeting cards for sale at Barrio Books, Bookmans Entertainment Exchange, Chris Bubany’s Artist Gallery, Hotel McCoy, Ignite Sign Art Museum, Sona Tortilla y Bodega, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Saddle Up For a Wild Ride Through History

By Stacey Gregory

Step back in time to the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum located on the historic Tucson Rodeo grounds. Don’t let the name fool you; this museum is jam-packed with artifacts celebrating Tucson’s diverse culture and offers way more than meets the eye.

For starters, one of the buildings is the original airplane hangar for the first municipal airport in the US. Instead of aircraft, the structure holds more than 20 horse-drawn vehicles, some used in movies, including Arizona, McClintock, and Oklahoma!, plus other rodeo and Tucson historical artifacts from as far back as the 1800s.

Volunteer docents lead tours throughout the four packed buildings, dropping knowledge, such as where the terms “backseat driver,” “glove box,” and “dashboard” originated and how wagons played an important part in the design of cars, from Rolls Royces to Chevrolets.

A model steam locomotive diorama of Tucson inside a display at the Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum.

The fully functioning ‘G’ gauge model steam locomotive.

Other displays feature the original El Conquistador hotel desk and safe, recreated blacksmith and wagon shops, saddle and harness collections, and an exact-model replica of the actual locomotive at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum located at the former Southern Pacific Depot in downtown Tucson. Thanks to the generosity of the Tucson Garden Railway Society, guests can interact with the fully functioning ‘G’ gauge model steam locomotive, cars, and a diorama typifying what Tucson would have looked like soon after the first trains appeared in 1880.

The Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum is open from November 10, 2022, through April 1, 2023.

Meet the Sculptor: Gerald “Jerry” Rockwell

By Stacey Gregory

By day, Jerry Rockwell is a lab technician performing quality control and destructive testing for roof coatings, but his nights and weekends are dedicated to his passion—sculpting. Growing up in Tucson, he tried the artform from time to time as a way to give gifts to his family. His sister cherished his creations, so when one broke, she bought him the soapstone so he’d make her a new piece.

“I never pursued sculpting until 2017 when my sister commissioned me to replace a piece I had made for her,” says Rockwell. “I had not touched a chisel in years, but I picked it back up and created Kelpe. My wife and family insisted I continue.”

Since that fateful request, Rockwell has been sculpting out of his backyard studio. His favorite type of work is abstract, where he takes a stone and finds the image within it before bringing it to life.

“It’s like when you lay in a field and stare into the sky and see shapes in the clouds. Sometimes all of the creative work is already done for me. I follow the shape of the stone, removing the excess until the final artwork is revealed,” says Rockwell. “The designs are often a surprise to me. Sometimes I will stare at a stone for days. My wife sometimes joked with me, asking if I was staring at a rock. I’d say, ‘Yes. Yes, I am!’”

He can sculpt just about any stone, including marble, calcite, chlorite, and some onyx, but his favorite material is alabaster. He notes it’s softer than marble and available in various colors and visual textures. Some are even translucent, allowing light to pass through them, so the stone glows.

“Alabaster is not an outdoor stone because the color will fade. But putting them on display inside where they can get light once a day is just amazing,” he says. “I am still developing my style. As an artist, I think that is a constant. Right now, I like to do pieces that portray motion. I have been working on several designs, which show motion and seem organic, but still maintain an edge that shows the stone as it was before sculpting it.”

You can find his popular motion designs and the occasional dragon at Arizona art galleries, including Toscana Gallery, Oro Valley; On the Edge Contemporary Gallery, Tubac; and Anticus Gallery, Scottsdale. He also has his work on display in Tulsa, OK.

Puff, Puff, Paint at Arte Bella on 4th Ave

By Stacey Gregory

You can take your artistic side to all new highs at Arte Bella on Fourth Avenue. This “bring-your-own-bud” business is the first 420-friendly art studio, bar, and restaurant in the Old Pueblo. Thanks to Prop 207, guests are welcome to vape and dab inside the venue, or smoke joints, blunts, and bongs on the patio.

A woman holds up her blacklight painting that glows in an art studio lit by blacklight.

A blacklight painting class at Arte Bella on 4th Ave

Two kiosks stand in the entryway connecting patrons to The Downtown Dispensary, located a six-minute walk away at 6th Street and 6th Avenue. In the art studio, you can paint on your own or join in the classes, including puff and paint, acrylic pour, wine glass painting, wood workshop, string art, wake and bake mimosas, and blacklight painting—“art-tenders” stand by to offer assistance. There is no fee to use the studio space; class costs cover everything required to create your masterpiece.

Consider the full-service bar and restaurant on-site, and Arte Bella is a one-stop shop for girls’ nights, date nights, and group outings. Drinks are inspired by artists like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe. Others are inspired by art. The popular Starry Night cocktail literally sparkles. The full menu offers tasty dishes such as Quesotacos (the birria are a top seller), birria ramen, and Sonoran quesadilla. Vegan offerings include tofu ceviche, Sonoran tofu dog, and Jen’s grown-up grilled cheese.  Plus, you can come here for brunch and keep an eye out for events featuring live music, comedy, and more.

The People of Tucson: Performer Gigi Chanteuse

TUCSONANS PUT THEIR SPIN ON PLACES TO VISIT.

By Stacey Gregory

You can't miss Gigi Chanteuse. This petite  performer packs a vocal and visual punch as the front-woman for Gigi and The Glow. Arizona’s favorite dance music cover band draws a crowd at entertainment venues around Tucson, performing happy, upbeat, nostalgic music from the 50s to today’s hits, with cumbia and Latin songs sprinkled into each set.

Her passion for performing was sparked by her grandma, who would make her perform for friends. At five, she started dance classes, and at 15, her professional career began. She formed Gigi and The Glow with her husband Daniel, a seasoned drummer from Los Angeles, CA, when the pair recognized a need for high-energy dance music in Tucson. The couple also works with various musicians to perform other musical styles, including jazz.

She moved from California to Tucson in 1993, raising four children and welcoming a grandson in the Old Pueblo. While her band takes her to gigs in California and Texas and a beach home to Mexico, she’ll always take the five-hour trek to return to Tucson.

Follow Gigi Around Tucson

It should come as no surprise that a performer would seek out local theater. One of her favorites is The Gaslight Music Hall of Oro Valley, where audiences enjoy concerts and revues spanning every musical genre. Guests are treated to the finest family entertainment in Arizona, and a full menu with pizza, wings, sandwiches, salads, and a wide variety of beverages, including cocktails and milkshakes.

Outdoor adventures take Gigi to Sabino Canyon and all the hiking trails found in Southern Arizona. She also enjoys the Omni Tucson National Resort golf course that hosts PGA tournaments and The Westin La Paloma Resort golf courses, noting they’re not only a great place to play golf but also for walking.

Plus, Tucson is known for bike riding. It is the home to one of the premier bicycling events in the country—El Tour de Tucson—that has been part of the community for nearly four decades and welcomes more than 7,000 cyclists annually.

“We performed for them, and it was so much fun. El Tour de Tucson is a tradition here, and we were very honored to do that,” says Gigi.

Tucson is also home to The Chuck Huckelberry Loop, recently voted Number 1 on USA Today’s 2022 “10 Best Reader’s Choice List” for Best Recreational Trail. The 131-mile loop connects the communities of Tucson, Oro Valley, South Tucson, and Marana and provides a safe place to walk, bike, skate, and even ride a horse.

“Riding those bike trails, you’ll see so much beauty. The Tucson desert has so much breathtaking scenery, especially during monsoon season when everything turns green and pops with color. It’s a work of art, like tapestries that unfold overnight,” says Gigi.

Finally, she can’t say enough about the sunrises and the sunsets. When you’re in Tucson, look to the sky for a real treat.

“I grew up in California, and I love California, but there’s nothing like Tucson. The weather here is amazing, and the sunsets are the most beautiful you’ll ever see,” she says.

GIGI’S TASTES OF TUCSON

“Where can I begin? Everything is good here!” says Gigi. “I’m not a big eater, and I love that in the last five years, Tucson now has more and more vegan venues and menus.”

Of course, St. Philips Plaza is high on her list; Gigi and The Glow regularly perform on the patio surrounded by Proof Artisanal Pizza & Pasta, Reforma Modern Mexican, and Union Public House. Guests can choose to dine on handcrafted artisanal pizza and house-made pasta, authentic Mexican food with a modern and playful twist on fresh local ingredients, and made-from-scratch American fare using local and sustainable ingredients. Each restaurant serves clever libations and is a happy hour and brunch staple.

“I could go on and on; Tucson is packed with delicious restaurants. Tavolino Ristorante Italiano and Wild Garlic Grill in the Foothills are some of my favorites. Another is HiFalutin, and inside the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa is Azul Restaurant. Not to mention all the Mexican food; there are just so many options here,” says Gigi.

The People of Tucson: Public TV Executive & Notecard Creator Enrique Aldana

TUCSONANS PUT THEIR SPIN ON PLACES TO VISIT.

By Stacey Gregory

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Enrique Aldana immigrated to New York State when his mother remarried. He was five when he arrived and was enrolled in kindergarten without speaking English. Bullied in school, his haven was watching shows like Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company on PBS. He credits the shows with helping him learn American culture and the language. At 12, the family relocated to Tucson, Arizona, where he graduated from Amphitheater High School and began a career.

His then-girlfriend-now-wife encouraged him to continue his education. At age 28, Aldana enrolled in the Eller School of Business at The University of Arizona—earning his degree in three years and becoming a sales manager at Tucson Newspapers, Inc. Life was good, but it was going to get better.

Aldana had two daughters by now, and his wife, Katie, volunteered at their school. As fate would have it, their daughter’s teacher was married to Jack Gibson, CEO of Arizona Public Media, Tucson’s PBS station and NPR radio licensed through The University of Arizona. He took a chance and asked for an introduction to Jack as a resource for job opportunities. The meeting paid off: Aldana received an offer to join the very organization that gave him comfort as a child. Today he is the senior director of development at Arizona Public Media and won the Association for Fundraising Professionals "Outstanding Fundraising Executive" for 2021.

“I grew up watching public media; it gave me a strong foundation to succeed. I get to pay it forward for people who want to continue to learn or have children who need a safe place to watch quality educational television,” he says.

Tucson Through Aldana's Lens

Not only does Aldana connect to his community through public media, but he also creates notecards. At his daughter Sophie’s encouragement, he started Yours Truly Notecards, marrying his passion for photography with the city he loves. Many of his notecards feature the Tucson landscape and the charm of the Southwest.

“People don’t realize that The University of Arizona has a beautiful botanical garden open to the public. It’s a hidden gem where you can walk around campus enjoying hundreds of species of plants,” says Aldana.

The UA Campus Arboretum houses plants from arid and semi-arid climates around the world. In-person guided tours start at The University of Arizona Memorial Fountain. Tours range from Arboretum History to Sonoran Native Plants, each tour lasting 60–90 minutes.

Aldana recommends Agua Caliente Park, a lake area with spring-fed ponds and ducks, herons, turtles, and fish.

“This is a great place to spend time with family and have a picnic. You’ll feel like you aren’t in Tucson anymore it’s so green,” he says.

He also says to explore Mt. Lemmon, an hour from Tucson. The peak of Mt. Lemmon is the highest in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,171 feet. The temperature there averages 30° cooler than in the valley, offering a respite from the desert heat, complete with tall trees, brooks, and streams. Hikers, rock climbers, campers, cyclists, and skiers flock here.

ALDANA’S TASTES OF TUCSON

“Tucson is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, so there is no shortage of delicious food here,” says Aldana.

His favorite restaurants include The Little One and Boca Tacos y Tequila. The Little One is a Tucson staple and has been around since the 80s, serving healthy and authentic Mexican food for breakfast and lunch in a little space in downtown Tucson. Boca Tacos offers authentic Sonoran Mexican cuisine developed by the founder, owner, and award-winning executive chef, Maria Mazon.

“The Little One is tiny, quaint, loud, colorful, and delicious. I never order the same thing twice. Bring cash here, and be prepared to get a hug with your dish,” says Aldana. “At Boca Tacos each of Maria Mazon’s salsas taste unique and imaginative. The flavors she creates are a taste explosion in your mouth. You must try them all.”

Of all the places to get great food in Tucson, the ultimate for Aldana is not a restaurant at all but a food truck. For more than 25 years, El Manantial Tacos Y Hotdogs has served Tucson from the corner of 36th Street and Park Avenue.

“I’ve been eating their burritos, hot dogs wrapped in bacon, and quesadillas for at least 20 years. I even had them cater my 50th birthday party; they pulled right up in my front yard,” he says.

Keep Tucson Weird

It’s hip to be weird here. Let us show you the ways.

By C. Jill Hofer

How do you describe a place that defies definition? Words like unusual, unique, strange, surprising, odd, and yes, weird come to mind. After all, it’s hip to be weird. The now-famous motto “Keep Austin Weird” was adopted by Portland, Oregon, and other quirky-cool communities looking to retain their unique identity. When we consider a few ways T-town is different, it’s easy to see why we’d like to keep it that way.

Tucsonans Put the “WE” in Weird

It’s the people that make Tucson so special. Diversity defines our municipal identity, and for this, Southern Pacific Railway deserves some credit. In the 1880s, the arrival of the railroad diversified an existing melting pot of Indigenous, Mexican, and American people. The result? A city brimming with culturally influenced dining, events, art, and music.

Tucson’s art and music scene reflects our wonderful weirdness, spans every genre, and defies categorization. For a sampling, simply stroll down Congress Street and Fourth Avenue. Tucson’s love affair with itself is on display and beautifully illustrated by the Tucson Portrait Project at the Fourth Avenue underpass. Marvel at the 7,000 individual photo tiles and consider how we combine to create one amazing community. Throughout town, large-scale professional art installations are showcased alongside a myriad of murals and a plethora of personal projects, all contributing to the collective, arty vibe. Walk, skate, or bike through a rattlesnake bridge. Appreciate the small and large-scale mosaics adorning the city of South Tucson. Cruise around town to applaud the homes, yards, and traffic roundabouts flaunting handmade creations. From sculptures and mosaics to Little Free Libraries, giving pantries, free art sidewalk galleries, and business and residential murals, Tucson’s creativity is on display.

Add a Little Weird to Your World

Tucson loves Tucson. We appreciate authenticity and prefer to express our style through handcrafted, upcycled, local goods. As a result, T-town is filled with fun, funky galleries, shops, flea markets, and a dizzyingly diverse swap meet.

Don’t miss Old Town Artisans, Why I Love Where I Live, & Gallery, PopCycle, and other T-Town merchants for a locally focused, nonstop shop’portunity. For expertly curated threads previously flaunted by stylish Tucsonans, explore the aisles of Buffalo Exchange, a thrift store with 40 stores across the US and founded right here in the 520.

“Tucson is a place where people are appreciated for being unique, individual, and creative. When I came over from Sweden at 18, I felt like I could finally be myself and express my own style, and people actually liked it,” says Buffalo Exchange Founder Kerstin Block. “Tucson is a haven for artists, creatives, and anyone who wants to forge their own path rather than just going with the flow. That’s the beauty of Tucson.”

Take a Walk on the Weird Side

The creative team behind the All Souls Procession dreams up meaningful events, remembrances, craft workshops, benefit performances, and offbeat fundraisers throughout the year. These gatherings orbit around the All Souls Procession and Ceremony, a signature event to honor the dead and celebrate the living. Well over 150,000 people join the two-mile-long human-powered procession through downtown Tucson in the fall. It ends in the ceremonial burning of a large urn filled with the photos, hopes, offerings, and wishes of those in attendance for their loved ones who have passed.

MSA Annex Festival Grounds plays host to a bevy of weird and wonderful happenings. This welcoming plaza pollinates community culture with galas, concerts, artisan markets, workshops, roller discos, dance parties, and more. Mix and mingle with a band of merry weirdos through the local chapter of the  Cacophony Society. Self-described as a “randomly gathered network of free spirits united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society,” this group gives Tucson’s counter-culture a boost.

“I transplanted myself to the Sonoran Desert over 35 years ago. Every day I am re-burned by the light, impressed by the tenacity of the bumpy, toxic creatures that thrive around me, and inspired by the magical Wild West surrealism surrounding the Old Pueblo. How could this place ever NOT be weird? Viva!” says All Souls Procession Artistic Director and Founder of Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theatre Co., Nadia Hagen-Onuktav.

Weird by Nature

Native flora and fauna must be a little weird to survive hot summers, winter freezes, and temperature fluctuations regularly topping 30° in a single day. Towering saguaros and unique species of scorpions thrive alongside the only known non-captive jaguar and ocelot in North America in Southern Arizona. Our javelinas look so much like pigs it’s weird they actually belong to the deer (peccary) family.

And if anyone tells you Tucson is weird because we don’t have seasons, let them know we do daily! Tucsonans enjoy spring before 8 a.m., mid-day summers, early evening fall, and a bit of winter overnight.

The 520 even boasts a unique fifth season identified by the Tohono O’odham. “A special time takes place around April, when the mesquite, palo verde, creosote, brittlebush, and other yellow flowering plants are in full bloom. It’s one of the 12 seasons of our lunar calendar, called s-uam masad or yellow month,” says Maegan Lopez at Mission Garden.

Try your Weird on for Size

Don’t be shy! Get out and contribute to the vibe. By exploring the more interesting side of Tucson, you might also discover a whole new side of yourself.

HOW THE WEST WAS WEIRD

For some wildly weird attractions, stop by any of these fun and funky places around town. The Old Pueblo is home to El Tiradito, America’s only Catholic shrine dedicated to a sinner.

El Tiradito

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures packs a world of wonder into staggeringly small creations. Valley of the Moon is a unique artist-created enchanted historic fairyland that promotes kindness and imagination. The University of Arizona’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Tucson Steampunk Society take members back in time with gatherings, events, and an annual Wild Wild West steampunk convention.

About C. Jill Hofer

An avid appreciator of the Tucson arts, fire performance, music, and maker scenes, Jill Hofer can be spotted at galleries, restaurants, Tucson hotspots, and on a tile in the Tucson Portrait Project. Between openings and special events, she’s sculpting jewelry in her home studio overlooking the Tucson valley.

Meet the Muralist: Pen Macias

By Bellah Nelson 

Pen Macias is a mother and a muralist, with several pieces around Tucson and a growing collection of paper arts like stickers and prints. Originally from Alabama, Macias moved to Tucson at 19 years old and never expected it to become her forever home. 

The culture, the people, the community, and the art atmosphere make Tucson “a diamond place to live,” Macias said, “I found my roots and started a family, and now I’m here forever.” 

From a young age, Macias gravitated towards art and loved any creative outlet.

“I feel the most energized, alive, and myself when I am creating. No other endeavor has given me that fulfillment,” she said. 

Pen Macias sits before her Frida Kahlo mural located on 4th Avenue.

A few years ago, Macias painted a mural in her own backyard: a purple prickly pear cactus with yellow flowers. Since then, Macias has received requests for mural commissions all around Tucson. “I guess this is my thing now,” Macias said. 

“Murals have one glimmer of magic that sets them apart from other forms of visual art: the large-scale size,” she explained. Because of this, Macias believes that murals can really create a “wow” factor. 

Macias’ artwork varies from client to client, depending on their vision for the wall. Macias said she writes down adjectives that she hears to understand their dream. She creates a few sketch concepts, shows the client, and uses their feedback to finish the piece and apply color. 

Pen Macias' portrait of a woman with a large tree incorporated as the character’s hair.

“I don’t touch the wall with paint until we have a fully developed design that I’m confident the client is excited about,” Macias said. 

Macias has been able to fill her workload with mural commissions. Her inspiration changes depending on the project, but her favorites are always the ones where her creativity is exercised and she can follow whatever inspiration strikes.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Macias painted a mural honoring healthcare workers located at Broadway and Columbus depicting healthcare workers as heroes. 

“It was a great experience getting to celebrate healthcare workers in a small way,” Macias said. 

One of her most recent mural creations, Desert Goddess, located at Cobra Arcade.

Macias participated in the art hotel, Hotel McCoy’s MuralFest, which gathered hotel guests and outside visitors to watch 5 artists do live paintings of colorful murals in the individual hotel rooms. 

“Tucson is so art-centric and supportive of artists. That’s reason one million I love our town.”

When Macias landed the gig to live-paint for the event, she was in Ireland. Her mural is based on the Irish goddess of dreams, but this Tucson goddess gives dreams of desert landscapes and vivid lightning strikes. 

Pen Macias live-painting the Tucson Goddess of Dreams Mural at Hotel McCoy during the Oct. 16, 2021 MuralFest.

Macias has also been involved in other types of art. She created cover art for the Ride Guide magazine for Sun Tran, Tucson’s public transit system. She has also designed t-shirts for local organizations such as Roadhouse Cinema and the University of Arizona’s Cooper Center. 

Pen Macias and her three children holding the Ride Guide Sun Tran magazine that features Macias’ work on the cover.

As a mother of three, Macias has also run a school-wide paint night at her kid’s school every year. 

“Basically, if there’s room for creativity, I’m here for it,” Macias said. 

You can connect with Pen Macias on Instagram and on her website. Be on the lookout for her work in local shops and on buildings around town. 

English Rose Skincare

Locally sourced and handcrafted in Tucson by Aesthetic Apothecary

By Stacey Gregory

More and more people are switching to organic skincare products. When in Tucson, get your hands on the English Rose skincare line by Aesthetic Apothecary. Creator Tess Robin worked with Ricky English of English Salon Spa to develop the line from locally sourced Tucson ingredients along with lavender sustainably harvested at a Bulgarian farm. The result: a complete skincare line that feels as good as it smells.

Growing up in an active family, Robin loves being out in the sun. It was important to her to design her line for everyone, but with an active lifestyle in mind. She chose rose as her main ingredient because it's moisturizing and is suited for every skin type: oily, dry, combination and aging skin can all benefit from its properties. When it came to naming the line, English Rose was the perfect fit.

“Ricky's grandmother was actually named Rose, so it has a lot of meaning for both of us,” said Robin. “Everything revolves around natural, holistic products that are all ethically and sustainably sourced, including our florals from Evergreen Flowers in Tucson."

Tess Robin and Ricky English

The line is exclusively available at English Salon Spa and is used in many of the facials offered at the shop in downtown Tucson. You can also purchase these products to take home for your self-care routine and thoughtful gifts.  

Bath Tea

Tighten your skin, prevent premature aging, and fight free radicals (reactive atoms that can damage cells, proteins, and DNA by altering their chemical structure) with the English Rose Bath Tea. Drop the actual English Rose Tea Bag into warm water and let it steep, turning your bath water into a large tub of tea. The tea bag is made from lavender, rose, ylang ylang, and natural black and green teas. 

“Arizona has a big problem with free radicals because when your skin is sun-damaged, part of the electron actually breaks off, and it bounces around because it's not attached to anything. That's what causes the skin damage. When you have a barrier, it helps to prevent those free radicals,” explained Robin. 

Lip Balm and Lip Scrub

It’s easy to neglect your lips but even easier to care for them with the English Rose Lip Scrub and Lip Balm. Robin hand tends the duo that works together for smooth lips and fresh breath. The lip scrub is made from a honey scrub, so it’s antibacterial to prevent bad breath or any smells that might stick on the lip. The balm itself is made from a thicker beeswax, so it has staying power without weighing your lips down. Both include aloe grown right in front of the salon. 

“Face coverings can make lip health suffer, unfortunately. I started the lip products during COVID, but it works for a post-COVID lifestyle,” said Robin. 

Body Butter & Bath & Body Oil

Feed your skin by nourishing it with authentic English Rose Body Butter. According to Robin, a lot of body butters are actually falsely advertised. Body butters should be anhydrous, which means without water. Look at the ingredients on many popular body butters, and you’ll often find the first ingredient is water, not with English Rose Body Butter. 

“Moisture is great for your body, but your skin is your largest organ that needs food. We're putting a lot of vitamins and minerals, shea, and a lot of great butters in there that mixes into a really creamy, rich texture. It’s not heavy on the skin, so that you can use it day or night.”

Add in the English Rose Bath and Body Oil for even more moisture used alone or with the body butter. The versatile product can be put into a bath or used directly on the skin before applying body butter to lock in all of those good elements.

Soaps, Scrubs, and Air Fresheners

The line includes even more products, including a sugar scrub great for exfoliating, full-size bar soaps for daily use, as well as tiny cube soaps perfect for guest rooms and host gifts. Plus, Robin created air fresheners. 

“A lot of our guests were sharing that they leave their English Rose Soap in their car because it smells so good, so we developed an air freshener. It’s not made with perfume, but with oils, I extract and infuse myself,” said Robin. “These are actually a lot healthier for you because ylang ylang and sandalwood are natural purifiers. They give you a great sense of calm and Zen while you're driving, so we help to prevent road rage.” 

Ethically & Environmental Sustainability and No Preservatives 

Recycling and being ethnically, economically, and environmentally sustainable is also important to both Robin and English. All of the packaging used in the skincare line is recycled, including amber glass, which only recently became reusable and is the only preservative used in any of the products.

“I do not put sulfites or parabens into my products, so the amber glass is one of the only things that is preserving them. We also have zero plastic options for zero-waste lifestyles with our tins that come in travel size, and you can reuse and refill your jars and tins right here to reduce waste,” said Robin. 

You can get your hands on this locally produced skincare line exclusively at the first all-in-one full-service salon and day spa conveniently located in the heart of downtown, English Salon Spa, 27 N. Scott Ave., 520-777-8997.  

Meet the Muralist: Keegan Rider

By Megan Ewing

As a Tucson native, Keegan Rider grew up surrounded by the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. From spending his childhood living on the Tohono O’odham Indian reservation to moving throughout South and East Tucson, Rider found inspiration in the everyday, focusing on the vibrant hues of the desert to influence his art.

A mural at a private residence in Winterhaven

“Each of these locations was very influential in developing my own personal artistic style. I was drawn to colorful traditional Mexican and Native American paintings,” Rider said.

Rider has always found art fascinating, but it wasn’t until high school that he focused on nurturing and developing these skills.

“I mainly worked with acrylic and oil paints on canvas but also focused heavily on pen and ink drawings and illustrations. It was during this time that I truly began to define my personal artistic style, and I even had my first solo art show when I was 15 at a venue called The Livingroom on 4th Avenue,” Rider said.

Lash Factor Studio mural at Meyer & Simpson

Rider’s roots have given him a deep love and connection with the community. Not only has the city of Tucson provided inspiration for his art, but its people provide endless support as he pursues his passion.

“The Tucson community is absolutely amazing when it comes to supporting local artists, and I have had the immense pleasure of working with a combination of businesses, non-profit organizations, local individuals, and the general public,” Rider said.

Murals bring beauty and joy to a place, and Rider’s mission is to spread happiness through his artwork.

Mural at the southwest corner of Olsen Ave. and Helen St. in the Blenman-Elm neighborhood

Rider has painted a plethora of murals for private residences, but you can view two of Rider’s murals on display at 415 S. Meyer Ave, 85701 in the Barrio Viejo neighborhood and the southwest corner of Olsen Ave. and Helen St. in the Blenman-Elm neighborhood. The first mural is at a business called the Lash Factor Studio and the second is located at a private residence but can be easily seen from the street and is happily shown off by the homeowner.

As for what’s next? Rider will continue to look forward to his next commission.

“I would say that my favorite mural is the next one that I haven’t done yet, because with each new mural comes new opportunities to display and expand my artistic skills. Each mural I complete is unique and customized to my client’s vision, and it’s always a refreshing and interesting challenge to blend my distinct artistic style with their ideas,” Rider said.

Interested in connecting with Keegan Rider? Check out his website or find him on Facebook, Instagram, or Etsy.