Meet the Team!

Jennifer Lezan- Veguilla:
Editor-in-chief/Creative Director/Founder
Halfstack Magazine & Halfstack Digital Blog
A Latina Fashionista & proud mother of 2 girls. She comes to the table with extensive knowledge and a corporate & freelance background in Fashion, PR, Creative Marketing, Graphic Design & Journalism. Through her experiences and her journey in the creative field - she founded Halfstack with Kate Roth & Mariana Quaranta with the hopes of showcasing all that Chicago creatives have to offer in: fashion, art, music and retail. When not working at Halfstack, Jennifer can be found teaching as a professor in the Business and Fashion Departments on the campuses of The Illinois Institute of Art and Columbia College. When she is not writing for Halfstack she can be found designing for her childrenswear line: Bella + Sophia. 

Teresa Espinoza
Fashion Editor
Halfstack Digital Blog

A self-described perfectionist, Fashion aficionado and shoe addict, Teresa found her passion at a young age. Her love of everything fashion led her to The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg where she earned a B.A. in Fashion Marketing & Merchandising.

Having always been drawn to writing, she began writing for Halfstack Magazine in 2012. She saw it as an opportunity to lend her fashion insight and give a little something back to the city that she fell in love with. Her fashion inspiration is drawn from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, Rick Owens and Saint Laurent.

Teresa attests her love of fashion to “That feeling you get when you put on the perfect pair of shoes or the perfect outfit, it makes you feel absolutely amazing, it’s universal! I don’t care who you are…that’s why I fell in love with fashion.” When Teresa isn’t writing for Halfstack she lends her time to assisting with Fashion Shows and events in Chicago.

Stella Estrella-QuimbyFashion & Lifestyle EditorHalfstack Digital Blog Stella Estrella-Quimby is a Fashionista, Educator, Fashion Blogger, Public Relations and Marketing Freelance Exec, plus networker and Stylish Mama!!! She can be found writing fashion and lifestyle editorial for Halfstack Magazine and the Halfstack Blog. When she isn't working on feature stories for Halfstack you can find her writing a weekly column for Chicago Now dubbed Estrella's Modas

Thom Olson
Fashion, Culture & Entertainment
Halfstack Digital Blog

Thom Olson is a freelance art director and writer for the print and digital advertising, marketing, design and apparel industries. He holds his MFA in fashion from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and a BA in Communications for Columbia College. He has received a CADM award for Creative from the Chicago Association of Direct Marketers, is the recipient of the International Fur Trade Federation MIFUR Award for fur design in Milan and received scholarship from North American Fur Association of Canada. He has illustrated and contributed to three college text books on fashion design and is currently working on a fourth. He has also helped to design labeling and packaging for over 3000 food products for a West Coast food retailer. He is on the faculty of the Art Institutes of Illinois in Schaumburg.

Sammy Sithiphong
Digital Graphic Designer
Halfstack Magazine
 From the cornfields to the big city of Chicago, I'm an Iowa native that came to Chicago to live the big city dream. I decided that corn was no longer for me and moved to the Chicago suburbs after graduating high school to attend The Illinois Institute of Art-Schaumburg to open my eyes to a new world of art and media. I was influenced by fashion, design, and music. All through high school I never really thought of going to school for art until taking photography and graphic design my senior. After that I was completely hooked on photography and design. Coming from a small town design and fashion caught my interested in the big city, I thought going to school in hopes to one day design for a fashion magazine such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Elle it motivated me to strive to become a graphic designer. And this now small town girl is a young designer pursuing her dreams and making an impact on her life.

Perry Fish 
Photojournalist & Lifestyle Blogger
After graduating from Central Michigan University with a journalism major and an advertising concentration, moved to Chicago to pursue a career in writing. Including graphic design and photography, I am a freelance designer that enjoys anything creative. My weekends are filled with thrifting, crafting, collecting pottery and spending time with my dog Charlie and of course, visiting my home state of Michigan.

Denise Guevara
Fashion & Beauty Youtuber
I was born and raised in the Philippines, so moving her was a very drastic change. I have a Boston Terrier named Odie that I love dearly and like any other person in my generation, I wish to travel...a lot. I love the sense of adventure or doing something of my time. I also love food so much. I'm a marketer, blogger and Digital Beauty Editor by day. I work for an amazing firm in Chicago. Apart form Not A Size Zero, I am a part of Halfstack Magazine as their Digital Beauty Editor. It's amazing! 

I'm a firm believer of change and improvement. I want to be able to look at the myself one day and say that I have changed a lot from how I was before, in a good way. It's a form of accomplishment if you think about it. You are the biggest project you'll ever have. Check out my blog here!

Andre Thompson
Men's Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger
Style and fashion are his passion. Yet, making a difference in the world is what is his driving motivation. Hailing from Detroit, I am currently working and going to Fashion School in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Creating incredibly visual stories through photography and videography is what he is best known for. Check out his blog to get a deeper understanding for the issues he is passionate about.

Jennifer Gordon
Mind/Body/Soul Blogger
Resident Life Coach 
Jen Gordon is a life coach dedicated to helping people create change in order to invent a healthier, happier version of their lives. A life-long writer, spiritual seeker and teacher she has dedicated the last nearly 20-years helping individuals leverage their strength to become powerful creators. Through her authorship and direct interactions with clients she has been able to further her mission of teaching others to – change their inner landscape to recreate an outer life style that is based in love, abundance and potential. Jen was educated at the University of North Carolina Wilmington then later at Loyola University in Chicago, and is also an ordained minister. She is the proud mother of 3 children, loves to surf, snowboard, philosophize over wine or spirits, and sing and dance with abandon when no one is looking.

Tareq Al'Saud
Dining/Entertainment & Astrology Blogger
Tareq  has extensive experience writing, editing and hosting television programming and at one point was the creator of a popular interactive programming tying real time social networking (Facebook) to editorial television program overseas. He is fluent in English and Arabic and working as an Interpreter for websites and TV shows. He is always interested in creating new types of projects and focused on communications between the middle east and American viewers in cultural and social fields. His weekly column for the Halfstack blog and publication deals with horoscopes, numerology and astrology. He also writes on pop culture, dance and events in the Chicagoland area.

Peter James
Business & Entrepreneurship Blogger
Peter is a coach and accountability partner (AP) at - a website/blog which identifies accountability partners for professionals and executives in order to take their careers to the next level. Peter writes columns focusing on business topics that range from career advice, to running a business and marketing for small businesses.  

Emily Ehardt 
Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger
Writer, stylist, blogger, and student are just some of the things that define Emily Ehardt. All of these jobs have one thing in common: her love and passion for fashion. She has a fashion blog called that focuses on how to style a single garment or accessory three different ways to create a look that's uniquely yours. Also, she diversifies herself by using her "Stay Classy" motto, in which she portrays her ambition for all individuals to be classy with their clothing and lifestyles. 
On Half Stack, Emily writes about fashion and style, in which she links back to her blog. Just as well, Emily has been featured on twice and in InStyle Magazine,  along with her other successes through school and work. You can learn even more about Emily by visiting her website and clicking the "About" tab and you can follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Keep up with her blog: and on social media at: Instagram  Facebook Twitter Pinterest

Michelle Landriault
Beauty Youtuber
I’m Michelle Landriault, a plus size model, Chicago native, fashion blogger, and the founder and editor of Michelle Swoons. In 2002 I received my certification in Make-Up Artistry and from there successfully transitioned into plus size modeling. I want all my readers to know, “No matter what shape or size you are…love is the only reality. Love yourself and be beautiful at any size”

Olivia Lemley
Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger

Olivia began her journey as an intern with the Halfstack team in the fall of 2014. She has been focusing on fashion, sustainability and adventure for her features since. She is a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School and is now attending Kent State University for their competitive fashion program. Although her background is in design, her major is Fashion Merchandising with a minor in International Business. Olivia’s passion shows for the future of the fashion industry as she highlights environmentally friendly brands, innovative designers, and respectable companies that are are on the rise.

Halee Nordhues 
Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger 
Halee is a college student at the University of Kansas where she is double majoring in Strategic Communications and Business Management. She graduated from Neuqua Valley High school in Naperville, IL and misses the city of Chicago deeply. With a passion for fashion, she hopes to one day work at a fashion magazine or open her own boutique someday. Her articles focus on product reviews, lifestyle, and fashion.

Jennifer Oquendo
Spirit & Inspiration Blogger
Jennifer Oquendo is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago where her love for writing quotes on pieces of paper turned to short stories, essays and an online personal blog called, “In the Life of Katie Kabooooom.” Jennifer enjoys surrounding herself with other writers and artists that have passion for creativity and art. When she isn’t writing, Jennifer is spending her time at Divine Expressions Ministering Arts where she dances, acts and recites some of her poetry. Besides that, she is one of the directors of an organization called Awaken 2 Life in which she works with young adults who seek mentoring regarding real life issues. Currently she writes as a weekly blogger for Halfstack Magazine.

Elaine Rau
Lifestyle & Fashion Blogger
Elaine is a Certified Wedding Planner and founder and CEO of "Events with Elaine" where she plans parties and weddings across Chicagoland. She is also a full time Wedding Consultant at and is the Regional Manager for the Midwest. During her spare time she enjoys playing competitive volleyball and blogging for Halfstack Magazine. Keep up with her on Instagram @elainerau and on Facebook at "Events with Elaine" and her website

Avante Edmonds
Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger
You never realize how much you don't know yourself until someone asks for a bio of you...That was my first thought when I was asked to tell you all about myself. I figured I would share ten things that I can not live without.

1. Cold weather
2. Menswear shoes
3. Greasy Chinese food
4. The world wide web
5. My family
6. What I know to be God
7. Rose scented everything
8. The color orange and gold
9. Diversity in every way
10. Hardcore cleaning products

You can catch me on: Instagram @androvon Twitter @ Von_A_Licious

Pearl Shin 
Event & Music Blogger
Pearl is a writer, photographer, and university student who currently resides in Chicago. When she is not working on Halfstack stories and podcasts, she enjoys dividing her time as Music Director and on-air personality at her school's radio station, tutoring English, and writing for her school's newspaper. In her rare moments of downtime, she enjoys bingeing on Netflix shows, making goofy song covers with friends, attending conventions, and curating work for her zine.

Kali Koller
Eco-Lifestyle Blogger and Youtuber 

Kali is fashion marketing graduate whose passion lies in writing, visuals, and graphic design. She uses these skills when speaking of world issues involving our environment, human rights, and social justice. Kali cares deeply about our planet and the people on it. Check out her blog, Style Conscious, where she discusses practicing a zero waste and sustainable fashion/beauty lifestyle. 
Karli Butler 
Women's Lifestyle & Journey Blogger 
Karli Butler has a BA in Communication, an MA in Organizational & Multicultural Communication, and an honorary PhD in survival. Her experiences as a survivor of violence have made her resilient and outspoken, inspiring her to blog and publically spe​ak. She uses her wisdom and scars to help teach and encourage others and wants the world to know that “There is a beautiful life after drama, trauma, and scars.” She is a lifestyle blogger, avid reader, fashion lover, self-proclaimed foodie, and trained circle keeper. When she’s not providing tips on overcoming trauma and life’s obstacles, you can find her adventuring with her adorable son, Zailen, or eating at a hot new restaurant. Follow her journey at

Nicole Styles 
Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger

This born and raised Chicagoan is most likely to be found at her desk working on five different projects at once. Nicole is a Fashion Merchandising and Management student at College of DuPage, Fashion Blogger, and an aspiring Fashion Stylist. Day in and Day out, she is constantly researching the current/ future trends, styling ideas, and the newest drinks at Starbucks.  She wants to change the way we define style.  Style is defined as, “a particular kind, sort, or type, as with reference to form, appearance, or character.” In order to have style, we have to put ourselves into a group, a clique, a box. Fashion is created through out-of-the-box thinking. So we, by default, have NO Style.

Iesha Carter
Beauty & Lifestyle Blogger
Youtube Influencer
Iesha is my name and yes "iesha with an i" I'm currently in school for Fashion Merchandising, and I'm a certified Makeup artist. Fashion and Beauty are two things that I am passionate about and they are two things that make me who I am today. What I want to bring to youtube with my channel is a piece of me I am giving to you all to show you who I am what I do and how I do it.

Olga Ivanidi
Travel Blogger
Youtube Influencer

Olga Ivanidi currently studies at the Columbia College in Chicago where she received a full scholarship to work toward her Masters in Broadcast Journalism. She's a freelance travel writer and a children's books author. Olga also has one foot in the filmmaking world as she's producing a Hollywood movie trailer and writing a script for an animated movie. She says she lives to travel and so, a few months ago, she launched her own show called, Ready for Life, where bringing affordable travel ideas to youth and digging deeper is the television show's focus. Watch out for her travel blog about an epic U.S. road trip across 20 states and 14 National Parks where she'll give some tips and hacks on how to survive life on the road.

Kathleen Lieffers
Music & Events Blogger &

Kathleen is originally from Dorr, Michigan and moved to Chicago in 2014 to attend the University of Illinois at Chicago. Graduating May 2016, she is currently a Promotions Coordinator for CBS Radio and has worked for UIC Radio, WFMT Radio Network, and the National Associate of Television Programming Executives (NATPE). Kathleen is a singer-songwriter/guitarist for her band, The Jades. Her bluesy-folk acoustic girl duo plays local venues in the Chicago area and plans to have music available for download in May 2016. Kathleen has also become a bit of a wedding singer on the side. Kathleen enjoys writing and performing music, checking out local bands, reading Kurt Vonnegut books, and watching her favorite movies on repeat. You can check out and book Kathleen's band here and you can check out and book Kathleen alone here

Celia Pena
Fashion & Beauty Blogger

Aloha everyone! My name is Celia Alicia Pena, but I prefer to go by my nickname "Cece". I am a Chicago native born and raised, proud Latina, and graduate from UIC with my B.A in English, and concentrations in British Literature as well as Professional Writing.
I consider myself a versatile writer because I like to write about plenty of things though, I have a very soft spot for doing feature stories and I am highly intrigued with content that involves music, art, beauty, and indie/grunge/street fashion. When I'm not writing awesome articles for Halfstack, I am probably off being a geeky weirdo watching Dragon Ball Z, getting tattoos, reading Gothic fiction, watching everything supernatural and scary or being a music junkie with my volume on high. Random fun fact: If I wasn't a writer, I would love to be a vampire because...well....why not? :)


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