Archive for In The Mix… With Mass Appeal

In the Mix With MAE – Elykssor Clothing

There is a medieval belief that mystics spent their lives on a quest to find the “elixir of life”, a concoction that was believed to contain a recipe for the renewal of youth. It was believed that those who drank this elixir would be granted eternal life and youth. In 2008, Kyle Poissonnier took this belief to a new level when he founded his clothing line. You may have never heard of it, which is why I’m excited to help you get familiar with the story of and incredible talent behind Elykssor Clothing.

Development of Elykssor
Obtaining its name from the belief in the ‘elixir of life’, Elykssor Clothing was founded in 2008 by Kyle Poissonnier. While the idea began as a project for his senior Entrepreneur class at Husson University, he quickly realized that there was potential for success behind it. With 2008 being his start-up year, by 2009 Kyle had gained two equally enthusiastic business partners – Matthew and Steven Stern.

“We all wanted to come together and work three times as hard to get the brand to where we wanted it,” said Kyle. Together they have developed Elykssor into a lifestyle brand, one that is meant to target those who are driven by inner ambition, the quest for success, and essentially those looking to ‘Prolong Life’ – which has become the Brand’s slogan.

The first step in the trio’s business endeavor was redesigning the Brand, which included new logos, script writing and updating the overall Elykssor image. Like any start-up company, the team got their Brand name out there by using all of their contacts through print, web, and word of mouth. “As time went on we became walking spokesmen for our brand,” said Kyle. I can personally attest for their marketing efforts via social media, as Elykssor often takes over my Facebook newsfeed on a weekly basis!

Elykssor Hits NYC
With the partnership showing early signs of success, Elykssor had its first event in New York City on May 9, 2009. The event drew in around 200 guests, including multiple artists, professional athletes as well as shoe designers Shane and Shawn Ward. Selling their designs at the event, the guys raised enough money to help continue with the next step in the growth of the Brand.


(The faces behind Elykssor:
Left – Right: Matthew Stern, Kyle Poissonnier, Steven Stern)

Kyle explained,“After the event we decided it was time for a big time website and a whole new look that says ‘we’re different’”. With the majority of sales coming from the website, it was imperative to nail it. The website launched in December 2009 and was a huge success for Elykssor, with the initial blast sent out to over 20,000 people. Today the site averages roughly 300-400 hits daily.

Elykssor in the Media
Elykssor has also gained crucial attention from some top media outlets. They have appeared on blogs, including StyleInterviews, PM-Live andFashion Makes Me Horny. The team has taken full advantage of this, even providing ad campaign previews for the public. As their success continues to grow, it is pretty safe to say that we’ll be seeing more of Elykssor within the realm of fashion media.

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Published July 2009

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Published November 2009

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Published July 2009

The Look of Elykssor
The Elykssor team has worked with designers all over the country to put together some amazing and unique styles. Below are the top-selling pieces from both the Men’s and Women’s collections.

Gotta Stay Fly Remix (Men’s)
Working closely with an artist from Portland, Maine, the ‘Gotta Stay Fly Remix’ shirt was one of the first designs that was redesigned in 2009, by adding more graffiti and slightly changing the fabrics. Due to the colors and overall unique concept, this shirt has become one of the most popular.

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Above all the Rest (Men’s)
Keeping with the design of the ‘Gotta Stay Fly’ shirt on the back, ‘Above all the Rest’ has the Prolong Life, slogan across the front – making this form-fitting, v-neck style another top seller.

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The Progression (Women’s)
A consumer favorite, ‘The Progression’ offers a highly noticeable look with the gold foil. Kyle said, “Every girl who has purchased this shirt loves it and wants it in multiple colors.” However, this shirt is only, and will only, be featured in black.

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The Signature (Women’s)
A form fitting shirt, ‘The Signature’ is another Elykssor favorite. It is slightly longer, with scripts on the side and double foil going up the sides.

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Elykssor Gives Back
In addition to running their business, Matthew, Kyle and Steven have chosen to actively commit to assisting with fundraising for the Michael J. Fox Research Fondation for Parkinson’s Research
by donating 5% of their sales and 20% of their fundraising proceeds. The disease has had a direct impact on the Elykssor family, which has encouraged the team to help provide funding for a research program to help cure this disease that more than 1 million Americans are living with.

What’s Next for Elykssor?
While the custom shirts are the only items currently available for retail, Elykssor is in the process of expanding into a full custom clothing line, which will include a 16-piece Men’s and Women’s collection. However, for those of you already obsessed with the custom shirts, you will definitely be seeing more in the future. “We will always feature one or two custom T-shirts because that is where our roots are, and we always want to stay true to what we started with,” said Kyle.

As the Elykssor team looks ahead to their next event in the summer, it is clear to me that the hard work and determination behind this Brand is what will launch them further into and keep them on the mainstream fashion scene. I believe that with their unique styles and general idea behind the Brand, these three guys will stand out above many others in this competitive industry. It is highly suggested that you keep your eyes open for what Elykssor will produce next!

***Don’t forget to connect with Elykssor Clothing to get all of the latest news on what’s happening now and where they’re headed!***

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If you have a passion for, already have or are looking to start your own Indie clothing line, below are a few blog sites that I think are definitely worth noticing. They could be more than helpful to you -take a minute and check them out!

GenArt Pulse
Gen Art Discover is an online community that brings together aspiring designers, editors, buyers, bloggers and fashion consumers from around the world. It’s a place to find the hottest new talent, see and comment on designs before anyone else, and spend time in a forum where trends are born.

Kingdom of Style
This site gives you all the info you need to know relating to fashion and all things creative. Check it out!

Indie Fashion House
This site will be your one-stop guide to emerging fashion designers. Keep yourself in the mix and check out this site to get all the latest info on up and coming Indie designers.

UsTrendy
Check out UsTrendy, which as been dubbed a “safe haven for Indie fashion lovers and designers”. A fashion community that supports up-and-coming fashion designers, the site is currently home to thousands of designers and their work.

The sites listed below also offer so much great information and insight into the world of Indie fashion!

Refinery 29
Fashion Indie
Style Bubble
The Fashion Birdcage

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In The Mix… Th(ink) About This…

Ink. Lots of ink.

Why I’m writing this…

Part of growing up is learning how to express yourself. I grew up with a lot of remarkable artists and musicians, constantly exploring new modes of expression.  Most of us were committed graffiti writers up until the age of 18 when it became a risk to go jail and pay thousands of dollars in fines. Consequently, calculus class with Mr. Irwin became the studio where some of the best art my friends and I produced in high school; drawing full sleeves on our arms with sharpies and pens. Used to having our graffiti taken down, we accepted the impermanence of our work and that in a few shower’s time every intricate design we drew on ourselves would be washed away. On the flipside, there was always a blank canvas to look forward to. Every three days or so we’d have new art on display covering our forearms keeping things fresh and current. Mr. Irwin always commented that we looked like “hoodlums” – I’m sure he never realized that we were writing out stylized interpretations of equations on our arms inspired by his…aridity. (That still remains a sort of bonus chuckle.)

No doubt this is where my fascination with body art developed, but I couldn’t imagine having a piece of my body permanently inked with one piece. My tastes change too often, and I grew fond of the idea that my arms were portable, personal, and most importantly renewable canvases.

It wasn’t until I got to college that I heard through a friend about this new ink that was supposedly removable with the single scan of a laser. My curiosity was piqued and I started researching, interviewed a few tattoo artists and discovered the following. Enjoy!

Information on do-it-yourself body art

Information on all types of body art

Impermanent tattoos: Here to stay?

Ever changed your mind? Ever thought of a better way to say something after you already said it? Or have you ever made a mistake that you just wanted to erase altogether?

Tattoos have been around for about 5,000 years, and perhaps even longer: changes of heart. The young company Freedom-2 has combined these two human traditions by creating a new type of tattoo ink that is designed specifically with future removal in mind – “Infinitink”.

The Back Story

The concept was originally developed at Duke University’s Kenan Plastic Surgery Research Center by Dr. Bruce Klitzman and surgical resident Kim Koger. The surgeons noted that mastectomy patients (patients experiencing partial or full surgical removal of the breasts) often got tattoos to simulate the areolar area around a nipple that was reconstructed from tissue. But as the breast heals, the nipple can shift position, and the patients often end up unhappy about the result. Klitzman realized that perhaps tattooing could be thought of as drawing with a “pencil instead of a pen”…

Meanwhile, another group headed by dermatologist R. Rox Anderson of Harvard Medical School had the same idea, having treated many patients who were dissatisfied with their tattoo removals.

The two groups ended up spending nearly a year in front of a judge disputing patenting rights over an embryotic idea for removable tattoos. Eventually, venture capitalist Craig Drill offered the funding for the two groups to consolidate their efforts, and the company
Freedom-2 was born.

How It Works

Freedom-2 went on to develop what is now called “P2E” technology (Particle Enhancement and Encapsulation). P2E Infinitink consists of tiny “microspheres” (roughly 1 micrometer in diameter) constructed from the same FDA approved polymers utilized in plastic surgery. They encapsulate colored dyes in place of traditional ink pigments. The microspheres also contain a dopant that absorbs a particular wavelength of light, and the right laser can synthesize enough energy to activate the dopant and burst the microsphere. Simply put, the site of the tattoo can be scanned over with a laser that will instantly disperse the microspheres, dyes, and ideally, the tattoo.

More specific information on how it works

Even MORE specific information on how it works

What people like about it:

*Healthy

Infinitink is ostensibly safer than many other tattoo inks on the market. The FDA website warns that though some tattoo inks are approved for cosmetic use, “none are approved for injection under the skin”. Because there have not been any widespread concerns about tattoo safety, the FDA has designated tattoo regulation a lower priority – tattooing, in fact, falls under state and local regulations. Treated like a secret recipe, most if not all ink distributors keep hush about the contents of their ink, free of pressure from health authorities. Some inks have been found to have heavy metals such as lead, iron, and even carcinogens in tattoo ink – ingredients more suitable for automobile paint.

The dye inside the Infinitink microspheres is about as harmful as water-based food coloring. Once shattered by the laser, the nano-sized microsphere fragments are small enough to be disposed of by the body like dead cells or bacteria. The removal process also causes considerably less damage to the skin than traditional tattoo removals.

*Efficient

Infinitink would require only one visit to a removal specialist. This saves lots of time and money, whereas traditional tattoo removals can take several visits and cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars – and a lot of pain.

*Good for Business

Martin Schmieg, CEO of Freedom-2 claims that roughly 25% of people over the age of 18 in the U.S. have tattoos, and another 25% over 18 are considered “fence sitters” – people who would like a tattoo but aren’t entirely confident about the commitment. Schmieg aspires to convert that other 25% to tattoo-getters, virtually doubling the number of tattoos in the U.S.

What people don’t like about it:

*Expensive

Though the removal process costs significantly less than traditional tattoo removal, the ink itself is much more expensive: a tattoo can cost up to five times more than traditional inks.

*Philosophical Concerns

Some tattoo artists feel that Infinitink undermines the tradition of commitment behind getting a permanent tattoo. To many artists, the concept of their art being given the option of “disposable” is hardly enticing, even insulting. Check out this video below to see what artists are saying about Infinitink.

Famed tattoo parlor “Miami Ink” will not allow removable ink

*Limited

Because Infinitink is such a new product, the only hue that has been approved by the FDA for distribution is black, and very recently a shade of red. “It’s actually harder to use” Says tattoo artist Brenda Wynne, “You can’t use A&D ointment on it, which helps the needle glide through the skin”. According to an informational pamphlet given to Brenda and other tattoo artists by Freedom-2, the tattoo must be worn for a minimum of two years before getting removed. When asked why specifically the ointment can’t be used, or why the tattoo must be on for at least two years, she simply replied “They didn’t tell me”.

*Undeveloped

Though Infinitink is quite prospective, it still has some proving to do in the field.  Wynne claims to have 2-3 clients per month who specifically request Infinitink. “Not many people know about it yet” says Wynne. Coupled with this lack of exposure, there are still many questions that even artists like Wynne aren’t sure about. If it is going to take two years before clients can start to remove their removable tattoos, it would be inaccurate to say Infinitink has proven itself.

Artist Todd “The Todd” Sorensen cautions: “When you’re getting a tattoo, removable or not, you should consider it a permanent decision.”

Freedom-2 CEO Martin Shmieg sports and de-sports the world's first Infinitink removable tattoo.

I interviewed the owner of Stingray Body Art in Allston, MA by the name of Brenda Wynne who was kind enough to share her thoughts on Infinitink amidst a busy schedule. Here is what she had to say:

MAE: When did you first start using Infinitink?
BW: Sometime last year, I don’t really recall the date but I’d say about a year.
MAE: And has it been popular?
BW: As soon as I put it in my bio (shrugs) yeah.
MAE: For the artist, is it any different to use Infinitink as opposed to traditional inks?
BW: It’s actually harder to use – you can’t use A&D ointment with it, an ointment that helps the needle glide through the skin. They told me not to but I don’t know why, it draws the ink out for some reason. It’s also a little watery, and once you open a container of it you have to use it all, so it would cost [the tattoo-getter] more money because I have to go through a whole bottle of it once it’s open.
MAE: Is this something you would recommend to people?
BW: Yeah I’m for it, but people need to realize it is a lot more expensive. A lot of people get it for their parents, so their parents don’t freak out. I had this one guy start out with Infinitink, getting a huge sleeve and the thing is, sometimes it doesn’t heal the best and you have to go over it again. So I said to him “Look, you’re obviously not going to get this removed, just tell your dad it’s Infinitink and we’ll use real ink or it’s gonna cost you a hell of a lot more and it’s not gonna look as sharp”.
MAE: Do you do removals here?
BW: No we’re working on that, it actually requires a medical device and you have to be a doctor.
MAE: Have you seen what these tattoos look like after they’ve been removed?
BW: No, because it hasn’t been out long enough; you have to wait two years.
MAE: Physiological reasons?
BW: I don’t know, it just said that on the pamphlet they gave me.
MAE: Is this something you would advertise as a way to draw in more clients?
BW: Well you know I use all different kinds of inks that people come here for, like Vegan Ink.
MAE: Vegan ink? What animal products are found in other tattoo inks?
BW: Glycerin, which has gelatin in it.
MAE: Do you think that this is something that is going to blow up and actually become a revolutionary installment to the tattoo industry or is this just a trend?
BW: Nah it’s not gonna blow up. I think it’s gonna be a nice thing to have and to offer people but I don’t think it is going to ‘blow up’. The UV ink is a lot more popular.
MAE: UV ink?
BW: Yeah it glows in the dark! So I could tattoo your whole face and (once it heals) you wouldn’t be able to see anything until you walk under a black light.
MAE: And that has been particularly popular?
BW: Yeah it has been pretty popular, and I just found this stuff [after Infinitink] when I ran out of white and was looking for my white and I found this and was like “Whoa people are gonna love this!” .
MAE: And I’ve heard that the only Infinitink ‘color’ they have available is black?
BW: They came out with a red too but I haven’t gotten it yet. And no matter what, you cannot remove white ink. It just turns black under a laser, and I’m not sure specifically why.
MAE: Sounds like there are still a lot of questions to answer and proving to be done before Infinitink makes any big strides. Thanks for your time!
BW: Thank you!

Here are a couple more related articles on Infinitink I found interesting:

OffBeatInk.com

Findarticles.com

Zack Trahan, April ’10

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In The Mix…Cancun, Mexico

Are you a student looking to book a spring break trip? Are you someone that’s taking a trip to Cancun, Mexico and wants some information about it? If so, this article is for you. I recently just spent my spring break in Cancun for the second year in a row and I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation. Cancun showed me a side of nightlife that I had only dreamed of. Here in the United States, most people are familiar with clubs playing hip-hop for most of the night and not much variation of music by the DJ. The DJ’s in Cancun played so many genres of music to really get the crowd going. When I got back from Cancun, I went on a downloading spree of music that I heard being played in the clubs or on the beach. I downloaded all sorts of music from Rock to House, even some Merengue, which before Cancun, I never thought I’d like. Between beautiful beaches, tons of other fun activities, and the premiere club life, Cancun, Mexico is definitely the place to be for spring break.

There are a wide variety of hotels to choose from in Cancun, but if you want to get the true spring break experience that you see on MTV, or in the movies, there is only one hotel that can deliver, and that’s the Oasis Cancun. This hotel is a dreamland for college students. The Oasis is a 24/7 party. That would probably be the best way to describe a stay at the Oasis Cancun during spring break. From the moment you walk on the beach the party starts. There is a stage set up right on the beach equipped with a DJ, loud, blaring speakers, and a hype man usually sent by the sponsoring company. This year for spring break 2010, Studentcity combined with Rockstar Energy Drink as the sponsor. Rockstar held contests all day everyday for spring breakers to get wild and crazy, and at the same time, to possibly win some Rockstar prizes. If you decide that you want to just kick back, relax and get away from the party for a few hours, just go sit by the gorgeous, enormous pool. The pool is surrounded by beach chairs to layout, and equipped with three swim up bars. You can even enjoy a poolside massage from the Oasis’s very own spa. The spa offers massages, body treatments, facials, waxing, hair care, and nail care. Everything one would need to relax, no?

Oasis News Blog

The Food

Obviously the food isn’t gourmet by any means but it does the job. I think I speak for all students when I say the cheaper the better. Students typically aren’t looking to spend any more money then necessary and spending money on food certainly is not necessary. The buffet usually consists of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and some sort of pasta. There are other various dishes but those change day by day. If you want to switch it up for a meal, there are a vast amount of restaurants to choose from depending on the package you purchased from the Oasis. My roommates and I were skeptical about the food but to our surprise, we were quite pleased.

The Rooms

Now we move on to the rooms. To say the least, these rooms aren’t something you would see out of the Ritz Carlton, more rather something out of a motel you would stop at during the family road trip to Grandma’s house. The rooms come with sliding screen doors with a small balcony, two queen sized beds, TV, dresser, closet, and a full bathroom. When it came to the cleanliness of the rooms, I was happy. The towels were restocked everyday, sheets were changed and bed was remade everyday. Any problems I had with the room, I would inform the front desk and maintenance was there in a timely fashion to fix the problem.

Nightlife

Now let’s get in to the good stuff, Cancun, Mexico’s club life. Downtown Cancun offers a huge selection of bars and clubs for spring breakers to get wild and crazy. When reading reviews of other spring break destinations and judging from other destinations that I have ventured to, Cancun seems to stand out amongst the others for its exciting nightlife. Between the major clubs and the smaller bars, there is always something to do in Cancun. The clubs that I partied at were: The City, Basic, Dadyo’s, Bull Dog’s, and the beach party hosted by The City.

’The City’: Cancun, Mexico

‘The City’ is actually a venue and is the largest entertainment center in Latin America. In addition to being a nightclub, ‘The City’ is a desired performance destination to some of the world’s most renowned recording artists. Artists that have performed here include; Fergie, Ludacris, Akon, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, 50 Cent, and many more. At ‘The City’, there are different shows every night. With a capacity of 5,000 people, ‘The City’ has the largest capacity out of any night club in Cancun. ‘The City’ boasts 9 different bars, a 1,000,000 watt sound system, 650 sq ft. of video screens, and 8,000 sq ft. of dance floor. All that being said, my friends and I had an absolute blast at ‘The City’. The waiters were very efficient and friendly, the club was clean and well maintained, and the party was insane. I was honestly taken back by the fact that I was in a night club and not in an arena at a concert. It was absolutely amazing. We went to ‘The City’ the first night we got to Cancun and what a way to begin the mayhem.

’Basic’: Cancun, Mexico

‘Basic’ is the only club not located in the heart of downtown Cancun. It’s location is unique in that the club is built over Cancun’s Lagoon. In order to get to ‘Basic’, people have to cross a short boardwalk over the bay. The half open architecture that offers an extraordinary view is ‘Basic’s most distinctive feature and sets it apart from the other Cancun nightclubs. The structure is built in the shape of a dome but there are openings in the ceilings and walls. This feature offers beautiful views of the stars and Lagoon. The music consists of mostly House music and Hip-Hop played by some of the best DJ’s in the world. ‘Basic’ does a bikini contest every Wednesday night where girls from all around the globe volunteer to strut their stuff and compete to win money. I believe the winner won an all expense paid trip back to Cancun. My favorite part about ‘Basic’ is the dance floor. The dance floor is a wood plank that moves up and down with the crowd. To make things even crazier, ‘Basic’ shoots water out of the dance floor so everybody is soaked. This can make a good night, into an insane night. Basic isn’t as flashy as the rest of the clubs but we still had a great time. A spring break trip to Cancun isn’t complete without a trip to ‘Basic’.

’Dady’O’: Cancun, Mexico

‘Dady’O’ is probably my favorite club Cancun has to offer. ‘Dady’O’ is a premiere nightclub that can compete with any nightclub, anywhere in the world. From the minute you walk in to ‘Dady’O’ you can see how serious this club really is. The club’s Amazing lighting system mixed with the rock ceilings and walls creates a magical atmosphere that heightens all senses. The state-of-the-art sound system, blasts of CO2 effects, the Laser Show, and invigorating music played by some of the world’s best DJs are the reasons why this club is known as the favorite “Hot Spot” in all of Cancun. ‘Dady’O’ offers six bars set up strategically around the club for easy access for clubbers to get their drinks. Various stages set up around the club give spring breakers a chance to be noticed and make things even crazier. ‘Dady’O’ offers unique VIP areas in which clubbers can order food all night, and waiters come around with fast and efficient bottle service. We had such a great time at ‘Dady’O’. We got put in a VIP section that was located in a little cove like structure right to the side of the dance floor. It was like we had our own little section of the club. The fog machines and advanced lighting and sound systems make ‘Dady’O’ a must see club while on your spring break vacation.

’Bull Dog Café’: Cancun, Mexico

Again, another amazing club in Cancun, Mexico. My friends and I had one of the craziest nights we had in Cancun thanks to ‘Bulldog’s’. To be completely honest, there’s nothing about this club that really jumps out at you and makes you say wow. They have the lights, the confetti, the balloons, the music, the contests and the fog but there’s just nothing to special except…the giant hot tub waterfall that is located next to the stage in the club. Let’s just say people get down when they get in to that hot tub. The best part about it, is that it’s reserved for ladies only. Bulldog’s is moderately sized, a little smaller than ‘Dady’O’ but big enough to have a great time. The large stage is reserved for ladies as well. But the lower tier of the stage is for anyone that is ready to party. ‘Bulldog’s’ was definitely one of the best nights in Cancun for me and I would recommend going there to any spring breaker.

At the end of the day, having a good time in Cancun really comes down to how good you want to make it. That being said, these clubs along with staying at Oasis are definitely a good way to enhance the “fun factor” of your trip. If you’re looking to go away for spring break, forget Panama City, forget Acapulco, forget the Bahamas, and all other places for that matter, because it’s all about Cancun.

Here are some resources that might help you when booking a trip to Cancun, Mexico. My friends and I used AAA, Travel and were happy with their services.

Student City

StudentCity, they’re dedicated to helping you celebrate your college years through travel. In fact, it’s all they do. They specialize in providing you with The Ultimate Spring Break Experience with all-inclusive packages, ultra-exclusive incentives, flexible payment plans and more at the lowest prices. And they’re with you every step of the way. From the planning stage to the travel stage and beyond, The StudentCity team of travel professionals will do everything they can to ensure you have an unforgettable Spring Break vacation experience.

  • Hours of FREE drinks
  • Express-entry into the most popular clubs
  • Front & center at the hottest concerts
  • Exclusive invites to private celebrity parties

With StudentCity you can party like a rock star every night — while everyone else watches.

Student Travel Services (STS)

Student Travel Services was founded in 1984 by two Cornell University graduates who shared one common goal: to specialize in the marketing and operation of travel services designed specifically for students. Since their foundation in 1984, STS has handled the travel plans of over 300,000 student travelers. This tremendous volume gives STS a great deal of negotiating power, enabling them to assemble quality vacation packages within the budget confines of the student traveler. Today, they have evolved into one of America’s premier collegiate tour operators, having student organizations, travel agents, and campus representatives representing STS on over 1000 campuses throughout the United States.

AAA Travel

AAA Travel is one of the world’s largest travel agencies, with more than 1,000 offices in the U.S. and Canada. AAA Travel can handle all of your travel needs. From local tours to excursions around the world, our travel staff has the experience and know-how to make the arrangements that are right for you.

For nearby destinations or cross-country motor trips, your Club’s experienced auto travel counselors will provide you with prompt, personalized, over-the-counter service. Each trip you take is especially planned for you, with all details tailored to your personal requirements regarding time, expenses, and itinerary. Auto Travel counselors in AAA offices in the US and Canada assure you of the finest travel planning service. These experts have at their fingertips the most complete, accurate and up-to-date auto travel information available. You can stop at your nearest AAA office, call 877-TripTik (877-874-7845) toll-free and have your trip completely planned for you.

Student Universe

StudentUniverse is the largest online travel agency for students in the US. The company was founded as a student travel agency in 1992, but they launched their site in 1999 and they have been online since then. They’re a technology company that loves clean, easy-to-use, efficient services. StudentUniverse offers airfares, hotels, hostels, travel insurance, car rental, rail passes and more. Millions of students use this site every year and they negotiate with all of their partners to give customers the best possible deals. StudentUniverse is the preferred student partner for Orbitz.com. If you would like to work with StudentUniverse please contact them.

Spring Break Travel

Spring Break Travel, in operation since 1987, is known on campus as the most reliable and ethical company in the industry. Having sent hundreds of thousands of students on Spring Break, they have the experience and expertise necessary to provide students with quality and reliable travel packages. Spring Break Travel has an impeccable complaint history. They are a member of the Better Business Bureau Online Reliability Program and the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA).

Student Traveler

STUDENT TRAVELER IS THE LARGEST STUDENT TRAVEL MEDIA! THE COMPANY OFFERS CAMPUS POSTERING, STUDENT TRAVELER FAIRS, and PRINT/WEB/EMAIL ADVERTISING! Student Traveler has been published since 1997 and has successfully promoted clients such as STA Travel, Contiki Holidays, American Express, Fiji Tourism, Tourist Office of Spain, and Australian Tourist Commission.

Explorica

Founded in 2000, Explorica helps teachers create educational tours full of authentic, interactive learning experiences. Explorica specializes in connecting teachers and students to new cultures, languages and people on educational tours across the globe.
Explorica’s combination of exclusive online tools and personalized service enables them to create tours uniquely suited to provide both the best value and the most customized tours in the industry.
Every Explorica tour includes flights or bus transportation, accommodations, on-tour transportation, most meals and an expert, full-time Tour Director dedicated to your group. And with there veteran Program Consultants, Customer Care Representatives, and comprehensive, user-friendly website, they’re always here to support you from the moment you contact them, to the minute you shout bon voyage!

Mexico Spring Break

Mexico Spring Break (MSB) is a subsidiary of Mexico Destinations, Inc. (MDI), a multi-faceted travel and entertainment dynasty that has evolved in the past decade to become your preferred choice for events and concerts, tour operators, travel agencies, event planning and promotional excursions. The agency headquarters are located at 928 C Street, San Diego, CA 92101 in downtown San Diego, California.

There multi-state bus tours cover over 75 colleges and universities reaching over 1.5 million enrolled college students. Advertisements include radio, print and outdoor (including digital billboards), exposed throughout all major West Coast regions. Plus, because they are a specialized year-round tour-operator in Mexico, MSB offers only the best – and can even attain exclusive access and the lowest prices available.

MSB promotional teams are partnerships with only the hottest and latest brands, models and merchandise to ensure that our events are the preferred places to go. There performers are among the biggest names and artists at the top of the charts. Previous performers include: Sean Paul, Mobb Deep, Paul Wall, Mike Jones, Frankie J, Natalie, Pitbull, Baby-Bash, Eek-a-Mouse, Lil’ Wayne, Fabulous, Fat Joe, Jim Jones, Petey Pablo, Little John, Too Short, Federation, The Game, E-40, The Dogg Pound, Warren-G, Mack 10, Dj Tiesto, Suga Free, The Baka Boyz, Alejandra Guzman, Paul Van Dyke, G-Unit and many more!

MSB parties have also been hosted by Playboy Playmates, MTV cast-members from Real World, Road Rules, Laguna Beach, etc. and even the Hawaiian Tropic girls, among others.

Mexico Destinations, Inc. is a member of and registered with the following business organizations to insure that you are traveling with a company that will deliver what you were promised worth more than what you paid!

STA Travel

STA Travel is a global travel specialist with 30 years of experience advising young people on holidays and adventures abroad. They offer a unique range of flights, accommodation, tours and expeditions in 90 countries and send over 6 million passengers away each year. STA Travel has over 400 branches worldwide.

STA Travel Blog

Travel Blogs

HDR Photography… Whether you do it, buy it, or both…. Please just display it for the world to see…

I am not a photographer, at least not by trade. However, I thoroughly enjoy documenting my life whether it’s my latest dinner creation, something I have ordered out, an interesting sign, an oddly large Adirondack chair in Key West, a sunset via progression shots, or family and friend filled memories. I have always had a great respect for awesome photographs consumed by nature or amazing city scenes and I suppose I love these shots because I simply love seeing the world. I love seeing the world through my own eyes and through those of others. My newest discovery is seeing the world in ultra vivid color with crazy details that most human eyes overlook. These new visions have come to me in the form of HDR Photography and I am in love. Therefore, I feel that the world, at least those who are unaware, need to become aware, and will then fall in love with HDR Photography too!!

I was first introduced to HDR Photography by my Uncle, Glenn Spiro. He has a 9-5 but enjoys photography in his free time- whether it being scenery or subjects. He sent me the link to a blog site called Stuck In Customs and since then I have been sending this link to everyone I know. My Uncle recently started dabbling with HDR methods himself and I am excited to watch his progress. His latest HDR Photo is from a local square in Boston and truly give this North End square a new life.


(Glenn Spiro: North End Boston, North End Sq, night. HDR toward the painterly effect. v1).

You’ve probably seen this type of photo 100 times, but never knew it had a name. Now you can search and find new screen savers, wall art, coffee table books, or start a new hobby. Please read on to understand the basics, see some of my favorite links, some of my favorite HDR Photographs, and some of the most talented Photographers that I have encountered on my mission to share my latest obsession and discovery with the world!

Thanks to Trey Ratcliff the talented photographer and writer behind Stuck In Customs, I have been able to learn more about HDR Photography, understand the process, and view daily posts that contain new and inspiring images. As taken from Trey’s Blog, HDR is an acronym for High Dynamic Range. It is a post-processing task of taking either one image or a series of images, combining them, and adjusting the contrast ratios to do things that are virtually impossible with a single aperture and shutter speed. Trey says that the HDR process helps the photos look more evocative… and I agree. Simply put, when you use a tripod, take multiple exposures of one scene, being sure to capture various levels of exposure from under to over exposed images, and merge them together, your HDR Photo will be the result after applying a tone mapping technique. Tone mapping reduces the dynamic range, or contrast ratio, of the entire image, while retaining localized contrast (between neighboring pixels). The best pixels from each of your individual photos will be displayed and the result is smooth contrast displayed with incredible detail in the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows.

An example of various exposure levels and the merged finished product (Taken from Wikipedia)


(Wikipedia)
Some of my favorite HDR Photographs:
Here is the original, non-HDR version of the Golden Gate Bridge.
(vgm8383 on Flickr)

Here is an HDR version of the Golden Gate Bridge during a break in a 3 day storm that hit San Francisco.
(vgm8383 on Flickr)

This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Marco Waagmeester on Flickr

This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Pete Talke on Talke Photography and Places 2 Explore.

This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Walter Hsiao on Flickr

This image was found on HDR Spotting, but was originally posted by Antony…. on Flickr

This image was found on Smashing Magazine, but was originally posted by shoebappa on Flickr

This image was found on Smashing Magazine, but was originially posted by Ariffin on Flickr

This image was found on 2 Experts Design, but was originally posted by Tony Shi, NY-NJ on Flickr

HDR Time Lapse (Courtesy of sqbbe on Youtube)

HDR time lapse sequences made from 7.545 shots. HDR’s batch edited in Photomatix. Video made with Quick Time Pro and Adobe Premiere Elements.

It hardly seems realistic, but any camera that allows manual over- or under-exposure of a photo can be used to create HDR images!

Some of my favorite HDR Sites and Image Galleries:

Stuck In Customs

This is a great blog which has awesome photos and the stories to go with them. Trey promotes contests, shares his interests, photos, and videos. He also has a Newsletter that I highly recommend you sign up for!

Here is the Link to the HDR Tutorial on Stuck In Customs!

HDR Spotting (Gallery)

The HDR Spotting Gallery is one to get lost in. Every image that you look at seems better and better from the last. HDR Spotting offers Tutorials, Software, and most importantly, their gallery.

HDR Spotting is designed to be a next-generation gallery for an emerging group of photographers. This site was started because long-time friends and photographers Trey Ratcliff (for more on Trey visit www.stuckincustoms.com) and Denis Khoo saw an intense desire on behalf of HDR Photographers to get their work noticed and to drive more traffic to their sites.

Their mission is to create an environment that allows HDR Photographers to share their best work and drive people to their respective websites. HDR Spotting is designed to:

  • Make it easy and beautiful to scan many HDR Photos at once
  • Provide an environment that encourages readers to go visit the blogs, portfolios, etc of the photographers that contribute
  • Provide a fun community that can be focused and provide feedback via views and comments

HDR Spotting is a basic free service. The site generates income from advertising, which they want to make as unobtrusive and pertinent as possible.

Contributing is easy! Simply enter your information. You maintain the rights to everything… If your photo is good enough, people will click on it to find out more and maybe jump right over to your blog, portfolio, or wherever you wish. HDR Spotting has a human-team (not AI) that will look through the submissions to make sure no one is posting crass ads or porn or anything.

Cambridge In Color

Cambridge in Colour was started in 2005, and has since grown substantially both in content and in the number of visitors it attracts. On any given day this site has well over 10,000 different people learning about photography, viewing the gallery and contributing to the forums

This HDR Post on this site makes the HDR process seem really easy and it also has a great tutorial. I would recommend visiting this site if you are looking to further understand HDR Photography or want to try it out yourself. They have some helpful screenshots, links, and a place for discussion.

2 Experts Design

This Blog was sent to me by David Santos. 2 Experts Design is a creative and graphic design resources blog that aims to provide readers to wide variety of resources such as graphic design, logo design, web design, advertising, branding, typography, other graphic and web designer portfolio, blogging in general, resourceful material, useful tips, tutorials, photography, colour, marketing and much more. The HDR post has a great example of before photos and the after result. Please see below:

Smashing Magazine

This Blog was also sent to me by David Santos. As a web designer he loves Smashing Magazine because “they always have great tutorials, free information, and tools for designers to use in their work like brushes, patterns, icons, etc.”

Smashing Magazine was founded in September 2006 and it delivers useful and innovative information to Web designers and developers. Their aim is to inform their readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development. They try to convince you not with the quantity but with the quality of the information we present.

Nourished by the gratitude of its benefactors and powered by the reach of social networking, this community has produced a wide variety of high-quality articles, resources and tools, available to everybody. Every single contribution supports the entire community, and the community supports these contributors with traffic and word-of-mouth advertising: the networking effect at its best.

The HDR post utilized from Smashing Magazine displays 35 extremely beautiful and perfectly executed HDR-pictures. Some of them might look surreal, too colorful, even magic or fake, but they are not — keep in mind that they’ve all been developed out of usual photos, and not a single image is an illustration.

Wikipedia’s Entry on HDR Imaging

Some of my favorite Photographers:
Ben Willmore
Terry Reinert
Trey Ratcliff
Peter Lik (Not necessarily with HDR methods, but his clarity and approach are incredible)