It is with great honor to highlight Madeline Mathews as the newest #WomanOfHouston. Madeline is an attorney at Watt Thompson, co-founder of Guestive, and a writer for Tidbits San Antonio. Not to mention, she was Alinely’s very first #downtownhoustonstyle (Click here). I can safely credit Madeline for the existence of #downtownhoustonsyle; I remember being extremely terrified of approaching strangers but Madeline’s full on support made the whole process fun and exciting. When Madeline is not juggling litigation or writing about what’s happening in San Antonio this witty, easy-going, and kindhearted gal is out and about trying new restaurants and taking advantage of happy hour.
Can you tell us about Guestive (http://www.guestive.com/) and how you came up with the idea?
Sure! In the last few years, I’ve been lucky enough to be invited to tons of weddings. I got a little tired of re-typing my address over and over when it was requested for invitations, and I started to wonder what happens on the other end once I give out that information. After realizing that all that address info is often re-typed by the bride into a spreadsheet, I thought there must be an easier way. Guestive allows guests (whether for weddings, parties, fundraisers, holiday cards, etc.) to input their address information (and more!) into the site, which creates an easy-to-use spreadsheet, bypassing the need for the party-thrower to handle keeping track of that info his or herself. Plus, Guestive allows you to keep track of RSVPs, thank-you notes, and even provide hotel and registry information ahead of time.
You are the fabulous gal behind https://www.instagram.com/sanantoniotidbits/ and a writer for Tibits San Antonio; How are you keeping up with the city life of San Antonio while living and working in Houston?
I lived in San Antonio for three years and loved it. I still have a lot of friends there and visit fairly frequently, so I’m pretty good about staying on top of what’s happening, which, by the way, is a lot! The city is booming, especially the culinary scene.
What areas of law do you practice? Can you give us a little insight on the biggest case you worked on?
Probably 95% of what I do is related to oil and gas, which is somewhat typical for Houston. I’ve been doing primarily litigation for the last year or so, and the biggest case I’ve worked on is actually coming up next week! For that reason, I can’t talk about it much, but it should be a great learning experience.
What would you say is your biggest obstacle in your career and how were you able to overcome it?
I started out working in oil and gas title practice. It was a great background/starting point for learning other areas of the business, but I was worried I’d have trouble branching out from that, and when there’s a downturn in oil prices (like there is right now), that work often falls by the wayside. However, I changed jobs before that happened and have remained (so far!) pretty unaffected by the low oil prices.
Can you walk us through a typical week in the life of Madeline?
If you’d like to be bored, sure! It’s probably pretty typical of any young professional. I either get up early to work out or snooze my alarm for at least an hour, go to work, if I slept through the work out, make plans to do so after work, probably skip those plans for happy hour, feel guilty about not working out, reschedule it for the next day, and so forth. With maybe a fun luncheon or a big meeting here and there.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
Reading and writing. Nerdy, I know. Oh and grammar… even worse. I think my love of reading and writing is the thing that gets me through each day of being a lawyer. There’s so much of that, but it’s what I love doing. I think in another life I was an English teacher (wait, that was my mom…) and I’d love to write a book one day.
Work – If I’m going to court, a full suit, or at least as much of a suit-looking ensemble as I can get away with. If at the office, I try to maintain some semblance of a business attire look, and I usually toe that line with casual dresses and pants, so throwing on heels or a blazer is key. (J. Crew, Madewell, Banana Republic, Boden.)
Non-work – Casual. Anyone who’s seen me in the last few months knows I have a fall/winter uniform: Rag & Bone booties, jeans (J Brand or Frame), and a flannel shirt, button-down, or sweater. In the hot months it’s usually a sundress and Joie sandals. (Frame, Bella Dahl, J Brand, AYR, Joie.)
Getting Ready in the morning: Anything that makes it look like you got more sleep than you did. 20 minutes or less, please! I love sleep.
Make-up: Moisturizer, foundation, bronzer, blush, mascara (Murad, Lancôme 24H foundation (actually does last all day), NARS, Bobbi Brown, Armani or Dior, respectively). And I love YSL Touché Eclat. I honestly don’t know what people who take longer than 5 minutes are doing. Some eyeliner tricks I don’t know about?
Hair: Even less to discuss here. My hair is kinda shoulder-length and naturally wavy, so I usually just let it air dry and cross my fingers. I’m hopelessly lazy in this area. Kerastase anti-frizz spray and Bumble & Bumble surf spray are life savers. You can get away with a cheap shampoo if you have a good conditioner. Shu Uemura Art of Hair is my fave.
Skincare: Moisturizzzzzzzzzzzzzze. And sunscreen! Like you haven’t heard that before.
Nails: Love a shellac mani!
I have an adorable Rifle Paper Co. recipe box, and it’s almost full! But I’ve probably actually made 10% of those recipes. I’d like to be a better cook, but I’ve got the same excuse as everyone else…”no time.” Plus, I consider myself a foodie and love trying new restaurants. Coltivare is a favorite, as is the original Carrabba’s, Prego, and Dolce Vita. In addition to Italian, I also love Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Mexican, DUH. My coworkers and I have debates about the best queso in town. Top 5 Tex-Mex: El Tiempo, Ninfa’s, Molinas, El Real, and Little Pappasito’s. I’m also excited for Hopdoddy and Toulouse to open at River Oaks District.
Breakfast: Again, usually whatever is quickest. Time is of the eseence in the a.m.
Lunch: Hopefully something free that’s provided to me at work.
Dinner: Love Ensalata Pollo from Pronto Cucinino – easy to pick up and so delicious.
I’ve gotta have variety in this area or I’ll get burned out on one type of activity. Ideally, I exercise 5 times a week…but that’s not always the case (see above). I go to Orangetheory Fitness, Define Rev, Big Yoga (prefer Glow Flow or Powerful Flow Jams), or see my trainer (shout-out Warren-T Fitness!) and then on extra days I’ll jog outside (Boulevard Oaks is the best) or do the elliptical, usually with a book, of course.
Challenges: Since I’m pretty new to litigation, I’m learning a lot as I go, and it’s definitely challenging. Plus the law itself is ever-evolving, so staying on top of new developments is always important, and sometimes tricky.
Rewards: I love the people I work with, and I’m happy to have a job that requires me to really use my brain every single day.
Photos are unfiltered and unedited. Photography by A. Pham