Underrated Spring Break Destinations

Yes, you read the title correctly.  Let’s talk about these places that no one really talks about!  We’ve all heard about Cancun and what not, so let’s dive into the realm of severely underappreciated places that are also fun for spring break.

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I’m just going to get right into it!

1) Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

This place is perfect, especially for the students who live in Chicago (or anywhere in the Midwest) and don’t want to splurge on plane tickets.  There are many gorgeous sights, including stunning mansions…

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… and crystal clear waters for a splendid swim!

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Really though, the mansions are stellar.

2) New Orleans, Louisiana

I recently befriended a few Australians who Airbnb’d with my roommates and me in Chicago.  These fellows were devoting a month to travel all over the US, and believe it or not, one of their first stops was New Orleans!

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They were very ecstatic when it came to telling me what they saw in that town.  Apparently, there’s quite a bit of voodoo!  And beads.  And seafood.

3) Zion National Park, Utah

Ahhhh yes, the wannabe Grand Canyon.  Only kidding, of course.  Apparently, this place is full of stellar rocks and spectacular views that only hikers can dream of!  Of course, it is best to pack lots of water, extra layers, and actually LIKE hiking in order to enjoy this spot.

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There’s really nothing like nature, right?

4) Washington, District of Columbia

Oddly enough, one of the most underrated places to visit for spring break also happens to be one of the most important cities in the US!  There’s many things to see in DC, from the National Mall to the museums, and of course, all of the monuments!  I personally love seeing the war memorials tucked into the side of the Mall while walking towards Lincoln.  The Korean War Memorial is especially haunting.

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5) Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Now be prepared… THIS destination is located in the wildest of the west.  Then again, if you love outdoor adventures and don’t mind adjusting to a whole different altitude, then this place is for you.

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I do mean it though, this place has everything.  And I know that because for the past two summers, my twin brother worked as a ranch hand and archery instructor at one of the ranch resorts in Jackson Hole!  There are still times he won’t stop talking about the nature and wildlife that he happened to come across.

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It’s any cowboy’s happy place, that’s for sure.  If you want to know more about Jackson Hole, I’m sure my twin would be happy to answer any questions!  I’m sure he’d also be happy to tell you about how he came across a grizzly bear within the first hour of ever visiting Jackson Hole (it’s a funny story, trust me).

I hope these suggestions helped you narrow down a location for your spring break search!  Do you know of any hidden gems for spring break?  I’d love to know about them!  As always, have a great week, over and out.

A Double Stitched Issue

The following post has already been featured on my first blog “I Am A Fashion Business Major, And No, I Will Not Make You A Dress.”  However, because I still feel very passionate about the content of this post, I am taking it upon myself to post it again, this time on my current blog.  Some modifications have been made to fit my current blogging style, and the original post was from April 2015, my junior year of college.  Please enjoy!

A couple of interesting events occurred over the past week or so that led me to put aside my school work to work on this particular blog post.  First of all, I must start by saying that as a fashion business major, I thoroughly enjoy the field of work that I’m researching and the classes at my school.  I cannot get enough of the information; true, it’s overwhelming, but every second I am soaking up new classroom knowledge is worth it at Columbia.  However, I could not help but note the events over the past week.

It began two Tuesdays ago, when I woke at 8am and eventually made my way over to my 9am Visual Merchandising class.  After some discussion about our final project, the teacher turned on a news special (I believe it was a more recent one) that talked about the accomplishments of fashion business extraordinaire Mickey Drexler, the CEO of JCrew.  This, for point of reference, is Mickey Drexler:

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The special raved about how he quickly jumped into the business after he finished school, and then proceeded to talk about his positions at Ann Taylor, Bloomingdale’s, and Macy’s.  He only became more notable when he was the CEO of Gap because he was the one who was responsible for the company’s accelerated rise into the fashion world back in the 90s.  For instance, do any of you know the television ad that aired during that time that exemplified the decade’s obsession with khaki?

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Yep, it was the one and only Mickey Drexler who was responsible for that ad!  The news special almost portrayed him as the protagonist in some sort of fairy tale… using his bravely equipped skills as a visual artist and a sleek and noble business man, the charming Mickey Drexler saved the mistress Gap from almost fashion fatality, and brought the name of good American people into the brand, which pretty much secured Gap’s seat on the retailer throne, and the company lived happily ever after (that is, not entirely for Drexler since he was let go during one season, but he is still fine now because he is currently the CEO of JCrew and the company practically worships the ground he walks on).
Overall, I found the news special fascinating, but a little too… cheery.  And usually, when the news gets a little too cheery in general, I get a little too suspicious.  I decided not to think about it much, and brushed the thought aside.  The thought didn’t come into my head later, until I went on Youtube a day or two ago to watch one of my favorite shows Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and I saw that he had a whole segment about the fashion industry.  Of course, I couldn’t help but watch what he had to say (you can see the segment here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdLf4fihP78).  And of course, what he had to say was brilliant.
In the segment, Oliver talked about something that I continuously learn in my fashion classes: that while discounted clothing made in other countries are great for consumers in America, they’re not that fantastic for the makers in other countries.  This is usually because the people producing our favorite jeans and T-shirts work in horrible sweatshop conditions, with little to no fire safety methods.  And was it mentioned that a majority of the factory workers were small children?  In other words, KIDS.
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As I mentioned before, this information on the fashion industry is not new at all to me, although it definitely may be news to a lot of other people.  However, the parts of information that were new to me took me off guard, and those were the specifics on Gap for the past few decades.  For one thing, Oliver pointed out that Gap was criticized during the 90s for making its clothes in labor abusive conditions in El Salvador.  And then I believe it was at 6:32 during the video that John Oliver showed a particular commercial from that time period, and guess what commercial it was?
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That’s right, the good ol’ swing dancing khaki enthusiasts.  And forgive me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t the one who was responsible for that commercial the Prince Charming we mentioned earlier, Mickey Drexler?  Which meant that Mickey Drexler, the protagonist of retailers everywhere, was responsible for overlooking the conditions in which Gap’s clothes were being made?
Now to be fair, Oliver went on to talk about how Gap took measures to install “independent monitoring” in their factories and what not.  But then not to be fair, Oliver proceeded to tell how Gap continued with a series of mishaps similar to the El Salvador instance to this very day.  Now c’mon Gap.  And c’mon, news media outlets in general!  I understand that it’s important to advertise and to showcase how well a fashion/retail brand is coming along, but you can’t ignore the other facts.  That’s what the news is for.
Overall, it’s important to realize that while the fashion industry can be a beautiful thing, it can also have some ugly downsides.  And sometimes, those ugly downsides can be the same thing as portraying fashion business moguls as heroes when in reality, they have their dark sides too.  The news should really be addressing more of these issues head on, and not shoving them behind to portray companies in a light they don’t deserve (if you’re curious as to what hypocrisies I’m referring to, just watch the John Oliver segment.  You won’t regret it, trust me).
Well kids, the more you know.  Take this knowledge and apply to it what you will.
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So. Many. Metallics.

I think it’s safe to say that the 89th Academy Awards that took place last night will go down in history as one of the most memorable ceremonies to date.  Let’s face it, that Best Picture plot twist at the end blew everyone out of the water.

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Then again, Moonlight absolutely deserved that win. Paraphrasing from Darwyn Meztger’s genius tweet, there was absolutely nothing more poetic (regarding the transition into a more diverse Hollywood) than that crazy sequence of events.  However, as delightful as the drama was, let us not forget how monumental and historic it was that Moonlight took home the award that it so deserved.

Anyway, I’d love to share with you, my readers, my favorite looks of the night.  I loved a lot of the designs this year, especially the black, white, and metallics “vintage couture” trend that dominated the red carpet:

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Seriously, did they PLAN this??  That’s not even all of them!

Not everything was metallic or black and white, however.  There were some pops of color here and there:

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I have to add that my appreciation for Meryl’s ensemble grew after I discovered that she was wearing a jumpsuit.  By Elie Saab, nonetheless!

Overall, some of the most notable pieces from last night were Givenchy, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Alberta Ferretti, and quite a bit of Armani and Gucci.  I loved so many of the looks from last night, and I adore the images of old, vintage Hollywood that surfaces to mind when looking at some of these outfits.  Over and out!

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Glamoutfit

As a kid, I was always obsessed with Cher’s closet generator on Clueless.  As an adult, I’m still obsessed with the idea of that closet generator, and was trying to figure out for the longest time if there was an app that was similar to it.  I was even tossing around ideas in my head of starting an app similar to that closet generator.  However, I soon found out there was no need, because I then stumbled upon Glamoutfit!

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What is Glamoutfit?  I’m glad you asked.

Glamoutfit is a closet generator app that allows you to upload outfits and items to your closet while being able to either style someone or be styled by someone else!  It’s a genius idea, and it’s really taken off.  In fact, I’m proud to say that I’ve partnered with the team at Glamoutfit to showcase my closet and my outfits to a wider audience!

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I have to say as well that I’m really enjoying my experience.  The team has been nothing but gracious to me while I’m expanding my brand, and I’ve been getting so much positive reception with my outfits!

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(this is just a glimpse into my lookbook so far)

Overall, I definitely recommend getting this app.  Not only will you get to meet new people who are as crazy about fashion as you are, but you will get to show off your style and cute clothes!  Anyway, over and out.  I have some more outfit generating to do!

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Valentine’s Day

Ahhh Valentine’s Day.  The day that couples love, the day that single people hate, and the day that stresses the population out in general because the expectations skyrocket for everyone, no matter what their relationship status is.

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“What do you MEAN you didn’t schedule reservations 24 hours in advance?”

For this particular post however, I don’t JUST want to focus on how I can put together a cute Valentine’s Day themed outfit.  I also want to focus on how we (particularly millennials) can make relationships work in 2017.  In order to make this post more accessible and relatable to you, my readers, I asked my sister Kate and her husband James (one of the best functioning couples I know) to provide some insight on how to be in a relationship and not lose your mind in this day and age.

For the record, Kate and James are not only happily married in Johannesburg, South Africa, but they’re also the minds behind I-Drop Water, an up and coming company that focuses on providing accessible drinking water to the entire continent of Africa (you can watch their Chivas Regal episode regarding their company here: https://vimeo.com/201104402).  The questions and answers are below:

Since you guys have been together, how have your styles meshed? Does it involve a lot of borrowing each other’s clothes?

Kate and James: We both have our own styles, but honestly, we wear what’s stylish, functional and above all, stuff we don’t have to think about.  We both need to look professional almost all the time now, but also need to work with plumbing, electronics, and also travel so things need to be simple and not get in the way.  We are both not afraid to buy the same thing in different colors if it works (although James is basically your worst nightmare in terms of buying clothes).

You both run a successful startup that seems to only flourish more from the both of you collaborating together. What is the secret to being so in sync with each other?

Kate and James: We are very lucky that we can work together and also have amazing times outside of work.  Most people would not try what we’ve done as it does invite potential conflict.  We worked together as students in the MBA (at Oxford University), so we suppose that helped.  We basically have huge respect for each other and understand when the other might be overwhelmed or tired.  Above all, we listen to each other and are patient, and we don’t step on each other’s toes.

As a 23 year old millennial, several of my peers and I have lost a lot of hope in dating, since the late 2010s seem to be the pinnacle of hook up culture. What advice would you give to people in their 20s looking for more than a fling? 

Kate and James: For the young’uns, just be open to meeting people!  Don’t be afraid to reach out and start a relationship, whether as a friend or more.  But never stay with anyone who disrespects or hurts you in any way (emotional or otherwise).  Relationships should be tough as hell in the best way possible while at the same time feeling like the most amazing thing in the world.  You’ll never find that person though if you never take a chance on anyone.

Some may say that it was corny of me to interview a couple for my Valentine’s Day blog post, but I honestly think that when it comes to dating in 2017, every bit of advice always helps.  I’ve been single for over three years now, and while it can get quite frustrating to be in that certain mindset, I always remind myself that I’ll find someone someday, thanks to the love that I see between Kate and James every day.

Happy Valentines Day, everyone!  Over and out.

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The Women’s March

I figured that writing about the historical event that happened this past weekend would be the best way to start off my blog for the New Year.  Yes, I’m talking about the Women’s March, which not only took place in Washington D.C. and other notable cities like Chicago and New York, but in fact, happened all over the world!  I was lucky enough to go to the D.C. March and protest along side millions of women and men, and dude, it was absolutely incredible.

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I just had to strike a pose.

The Women’s March proved to be one of the most provocative (and crowded) events of my life.  As I marched through the streets with thousands of people flanking my side, it was hard not to get excited about the fact that so many people had united in one place on one day to voice their concern for the common cause.  However, I didn’t want to pretend that the event belonged solely to the white women at the March – after all, 53% of white women in the country voted for Trump.  Therefore, as well as being there to fight for my rights as a woman, I also wanted to support my sisters of color and remind them that yes, white women can totally be ignorant, but some of us are striving more than ever to place ourselves in their shoes and work alongside them as their allies.  I know I have been guilty of ignorance and whitewashing in the past, so I hoped that participating in the March with so many people from around the world would further open my eyes to different perspectives outside of my usual comfort zone.

With that being said, I’m going to share some awesome photos that my sister snapped during the March. Coming to you from the nation’s capital:

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All of these photos can also be seen on Instagram!

I think it’s safe to say that this is the first of many marches to come.  And to that, I say:

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Bring it.

My Letter To 2016

Dear 2016,

You have been one of the most tumultuous years that I, and probably a lot of other people within my generation, have experienced.  Even though you are nothing more than a group of days (and four numbers), you have everyone left and right blaming you for everything that has gone wrong.  From beloved celebrity deaths, to the election of a rotting tangerine to the highest office of the United States, and to countless tragedies as a result of violence all over the world, you had never ceased to make people angry at you.  Which is impressive too, considering that as I mentioned before, you’re just a group of days (and four numbers).

I'm not even mad. (Will Ferrell)

While you yourself have made me quite conflicted and yes, even irrationally angry at some points, I look at you overall as a mixed bag.  Because you see, while so many terrible things happened this year, I also had so many amazing things happen to me as well!

So yes 2016, while we were all inside of you, I got to experience some incredible things.  For starters, I graduated college with a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Business and Acting, and I have never been happier with my pursuits.  I got to go to Turks and Caicos to see my brother fly around on a trapeze and aerial straps – how many people can say that they’ve seen that?  Oh right, and I also got to go to Italy with my best friend and my sister.  Freakin’ Italy!!  And did I mention that I was lucky enough to experience the joy of the Cubs winning the World Series firsthand?

There were some other sweet moments that I’m happy to have experienced.  Due in part to a spontaneous decision on my roommate’s part, I ended up getting my first pet, a little black kitten named Winifred.  I was also lucky enough to be apart of an award winning short film, Silver Screens (and yes, while it was incredibly rough to go through the month of July with my parents mad at me for being partly nude on screen, it was all worth it).  I also had the pleasure of working for two incredible Chicago startup companies (check them out: https://zipfitdenim.com/ and https://www.vosgeschocolate.com/).  And finally, as Kylie Jenner actually predicted, I realized so many things about myself this year that I hadn’t realized before – including the fact that a total of three men had stolen my heart this year in a whirlwind of excitement and young romance.

Of course, I’m not letting you get off the hook for a lot of the other things that you brought upon us, 2016.  I’m still bummed at the fact that we didn’t get our first woman president, despite the fact that she won the popular vote.  I’m also still heartbroken over events such as Orlando and Aleppo, and very much not over the deaths of Alan Rickman, Anton Yelchin, and Carrie Fisher (as well as other beloved celebrities).  However, if there is one thing that I can give you credit for, it is giving a majority of us an excuse to get off of our asses and take action.  Yes, while you have been a year of tumultuous events, you have also been a year of making us realize that if we want change, we have to get up and achieve it ourselves.

So 2016, I will raise a glass to you tonight.  I will raise a glass to all of troubles you’ve brought us, as well as all of the achievements that you have gifted us.

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Here’s to a fantastic 2017.

Signing out,

Maddy Thiers

I Don’t Joke Around With My Pinterest Boards

Some people out in the world (probably people with no creativity whatsoever) have told me themselves that they consider Pinterest a dying art.  Do I believe them?  Certainly not.  Regardless of whatever they happen to believe, I still live in a world where I’m surrounded by artists who use Pinterest for constant motivation and ideas.  Whether it’s a stage manager researching ideas for props and set architecture, or a bride-to-be researching ideas for her big day, Pinterest has remained a stable source of inspiration for anyone who oh so desperately needs it.  And I am one of those people!

Since leaving my teen years, I have limited my profile to four Pinterest boards, my favorite two boards being a fashion board (https://www.pinterest.com/mthiers/i-love-fashion/) and an inspiration board (https://www.pinterest.com/mthiers/my-inspiration-board/).  These boards, which I have just shamelessly shared the links to, hold so many precious and motivating ideas.  Therefore, I see no problem with sharing these ideas furthermore.

I don’t know if anyone truly sees themselves in artwork anymore, so whenever I come across a striking piece of art, I try to see how I can relate to what is being portrayed.  I particularly love Dali…

Woman with a Head of Roses, Salvador Dali, 1935.:

… as well as this fine art anatomy by Nunzio Paci…

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… and because I count couture as art, this fine design by Dior!

Hat couture, Dior, 2009.:

I could go on and on with my inspiration board, so I’ll just transition into how enthusiastic I am about all of the style pins I’ve been seeing lately.  There are way too many good street style pins to pass up, especially from Fashion Week!

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Milan Fashion Week, street style.:

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This post especially goes out to all of the people who have reached out to me, asking about my style and where I get inspiration from.  My style?  Very eclectic.  Lots of layers.  I know I tend to wander around the tomboy, girly, and bohemian realms a lot, I just can’t stick to one particular style.

I suppose that in order to end this post on a fun note, I should really emphasize how I’ve always tended to like weird outfit combinations… therefore, enjoy this photo of the Olsen twins and their Birkenstocks with socks!

Birkenstocks and socks!:

Yes, that is something I would totally wear.

… stop laughing.

On a secondary note, I hope that everyone has a safe and fun holiday season!  See you in 2017!

What Makes A Great Team

This November has been quite a crazy month so far.  However, one of the undeniable highlights of this month was definitely the World Series, which will forever mark 2016 as the year the Cubs broke their 108-year-old curse and pulled through with a legendary win.

So how did the Cubs do this?  How did they manage to become one of the best teams in the league over these past few years?  And what exactly makes them a great team?

Believe it or not, I was able to secure that answer from my twin brother Gerry shortly after the World Series ended.  It was all thanks to a hungover phone call I made to him the night after the Cubs won, and he himself expressed his desire to be with me in Chicago for the celebrations.

“You know how the Cubs became such a great team?” He laughed over the phone as my ears perked up with interest. “Well obviously they got a new manager, but this guy they hired is so fun!  He always encourages the Cubs to have fun during press conferences, and you know how they do it?”

My brow furrowed as I sipped water, trying to think of an answer.  I immediately gave up due to my pounding headache. “I don’t know, how?”

“Google it,” Gerry advised. “These guys wear funny suits to their events.  They even wore pajamas once! Isn’t that crazy?”

I had trouble believing Gerry at first, but he insisted that I Google it. “I’m pretty sure that’s how they became a great team.  Their new boss told them that it was okay to not take themselves too seriously!”

Sure enough, Google did not fail me, and when I typed in “Cubs funny suits” or “Cubs pajamas” all of the results I wanted popped up.  The Cubs are certainly challenging the other teams in the MLB with their style!  Fans love everything, from these funky suits…

… to these funky pajamas…

… to even more funky suits!

In fact, I’m just going to post more pictures of the Cubs in their stylish, outlandish suits.

(this one is especially a bonus)

Damn.  I knew I liked the Cubs for a reason!  And not just because I have a tendency to root for the underdogs, or because they got the paparazzi fashion blogger strut down, but because they are truly a team who enjoys having fun.  I still look at these photos sometimes, especially after the other chaotic and depressing events that occurred this past month.  And you know what?  I think life would be a lot better if we all just took some cues from the Cubs.

Many thanks to Gerry for suggesting that I write a blog post about this, and many thanks to the Cubs for making at least one good thing happen this month.  Go Cubs go!

My Perfect Fall Outfit

Fall is all about throwing jeans and sweaters together, as well as browsing through collections of scarves and fabulous boots.  However, I know that I am not the only one with a favorite fall outfit.  I generally draw a lot of inspiration from the 90s with my outfits, so the beauty of seeing everyone’s favorite fall outfits is guessing what decade they draw inspiration from!  I’m sure you will see the 90s influence in my outfit below:

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Can you tell that I was obsessed with Clueless as a kid?  Anyway, it makes total sense that my favorite fall outfit is a dress layered over a button up.  Talk about cliche.

I’d also like to make a shoutout to my roommate Rose for pointing out that layering dresses over button ups is a classic Maddy move.  She really isn’t wrong.

Happy Sunday!