A blog by Maddie Brady

Author: Maddie Brady

My Game Plan for Surviving the Autumn Blues

My Game Plan for Surviving the Autumn Blues

It happened all at once, didn’t it? Suddenly it’s that time of year when the days are shorter and the nights are dark and quiet. Even living in the heart of Madison the mood is starting to shift – kids wrapped up in sweatshirts instead […]

Some Great Local Organizations to Donate to Right Now

Some Great Local Organizations to Donate to Right Now

With everything going on over the last couple of weeks – Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the earthquake in Mexico City, another hurricane in Puerto Rico – I wanted to share a few organizations bringing some much needed good to the world. One of my goals […]

Weekend Vibes // The Week of September 15

Weekend Vibes // The Week of September 15

House Madison Wisconsin

Hey guys, hope you’ve had a good week! I’ve been in a bit of a funk the last few days and left a lot of stuff around the house undone so I’ll be channeling my inner domestic goddess this weekend. I’m hoping to get outside a good bit, though, since it will probably be one of the last nice weekends for a while. 😭 I might head to Live on King Street tomorrow night and then plan to go out with some friends on Saturday, too, so it’ll be nice to get out of the house. I rounded up a few bits from around the web for you, if you’re interested…

A friend said this hotel that rents fish to lonely people reminded her of me. Thanks girl…

9/11 is such a tough and complicated day for a lot of people. This video haunts me every year and this is an important reminder of how life changed for many after the attacks.

There’s been such a variety of responses to Hillary Clinton’s new book. Although I admire her for writing about defeat while it’s still so fresh, it seems like a pretty thorough piece of propaganda (and revenue). Interesting takes here and here.

But at least we’re making some progress, even if it’s only in stock photos.

Former Veep and major DILF, Joe Biden, paid a visit to my alma mater, Trinity College Dublin, yesterday and looked fly as hell.

In #BachelorNation news, who the eff is the new Bachelor? Also having mixed feelings about the new spinoff, Bachelor: Winter Games. I feel like things are sort of falling apart over there…

In other TV news, I’ve gotten really into Peaky Blinders this week. A lot of strong female characters and I’m a sucker for an Irish guy who looks like he’s been punched in the face.

Plus, my favorite moments from NYFW:

Go sit in the sun with a beer and have a nice weekend!

Missed this week’s posts on toast? Check out my recent treat yo self purchases and how I got inspired to yes more.

Two Wardrobe Staples I’m Really Excited About Right Now

Two Wardrobe Staples I’m Really Excited About Right Now

Last weekend I was in a treat yo self kind of mood so I bought myself a smoked salmon sandwich and a La Croix and went shopping. For me, shopping is an event: I love going to the stores, people watching, trying things on, listening […]

Book Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Book Review: Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Like many of the books I read, my mom gave me the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes on a trip home earlier this year. I had seen a few of Rhimes’ shows – I followed Scandal pretty closely in college until it got too […]

Five Ways I Made This a Self Care Summer

Five Ways I Made This a Self Care Summer

This summer I made a promise to myself to focus on me. The last year has been really tough: moving to a new city, starting a really technical job, living alone, meeting new friends, fully supporting myself financially for the first time. It’s been a lot.

I’m a firm believer in self care. I think it’s important to know yourself well enough to know what you need and do what you can to get it. So, when things started to feel like too much I knew I needed to focus on myself and get a self care game plan together.

I wanted to share a few things I did this summer to help me work through all these changes and to talk about my strategies for being kind and honest with myself. But remember, it’s different for everyone – you know yourself best!

I started writing every morning.

After numerous recommendations, I started The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a week-by-week program of self-reflection and building your confidence as an artist. One of it’s main tenants is what Cameron calls Morning Pages: the first thing you do every morning is write 3 handwritten pages about absolutely anything. I actually love it.

I’ve tried other morning routines over the past year (timed writing, working out, meditation) and none of them have stuck. I’m going on month 3 of morning pages, though, and I actually look forward to them every day! I’ll do a whole review of the book once I’m done, but this part at least I’ve really enjoyed.

I set a workout schedule.

For me, working out and taking care of my body is a big part of self care. I think sometimes people misinterpret self care as letting yourself do whatever you want, but I think it’s almost the opposite – you have to be your own advocate and part of that is doing what’s best, not necessarily what’s fun.

I used to only workout when I felt like it – when I was upset or couldn’t sleep or wanted to get outside. But I’ve started getting into a regular schedule and it’s made me so much happier: hot yoga on Tuesday and Saturday, HIIT class on Wednesday, and a long run on Sunday. I’ve stopped feeling bad for not working out because I find myself going so much more consistently. Of course I’m not always psyched to go, but it’s easier to get motivated when it’s a habit.

I also set a goal for the end of the summer: I’m running a half marathon in September! I haven’t run one in a couple of years so I’m excited to get back out there. I’m up to my 8-mile run (in case you missed my Eminem related insta story) and it’s actually going really well! It’s nice to have a reason to get outside even when the weather is starting to get cold. I’ll keep you guys updated!

I stopped traveling.

This spring I was all over the place – literally. I was in Florida in March, Dublin in April, Japan in May, and bouncing back and forth from Madison to Chicago every other weekend. I went 2 months without spending a single weekend in Madison. I love traveling, but it was too much. So, once things slowed down I told myself I was going to stay put for the summer and I’m so glad I did.

Madison rocks in the summer. The weather is gorgeous, there are always events going on, everyone is out and about – it’s just total Midwest summer bliss. I got to settle into my apartment and get into a routine, which made the introvert part of me really happy. I hung out with friends, hosted family, and took on personal projects – it’s amazing the time you have when you’re note spending up to 10 hours in a car every weekend. It was totally the right decision for my sanity.

I made fun plans during the week.

In case I haven’t talked to you in a while, full disclosure: I’m not crazy about my job. It’s pretty technical (especially as arts major) and with entrepreneurs for parents I’m not a great fit for corporate culture. All this to say – getting through the week can be tough. I’ve never understood the phrase Thank God It’s Friday quite like I do now.

So, to make the work week a little more pleasant I started doing fun stuff on week nights. Nothing crazy – I’m at least a responsible corporate drone – but I started injecting small doses of joy into my otherwise dull nights. I became a regular at a local bar that showed The Bachelorette every Monday night and recruited some friends to join me. We ended up getting super into it, especially because the fan favorite was from Madison (#TeamPeter), and it was such a fun, goofy way to start the week.

I’ve gone to outdoor concerts alone, dragged friends to local feminist group meetups, and treated myself to after work drinks at restaurants I’ve been meaning to try. It’s felt good to reclaim my weeknight time and remember that fun doesn’t only exist on the weekend.

I got help.

This is the piece of the puzzle that I think made the most difference for me: I got a therapist. I’m a big advocate for therapy – I saw a therapist for years in college and I credit that experience for so many important breakthroughs in my outlook and behavior. For me, talking through things with someone who is focused on helping me create actionable, positive change in my life is so helpful.

I know for many therapy is a luxury – it can be expensive and inaccessible – but if you are struggling, see what your options are. I’m really lucky and my health insurance actually covers mental health services (so unusual, unfortunately) and I started seeing a therapist earlier this year. She’s the best and has helped me to work through this huge adjustment period in my life.

I always try to be really transparent with people about my experience with therapy because I think it can help so many people. Whether it’s work stress or relationship problems or something more serious, there’s no bad or silly reason to talk to somebody. I know when I’m in a bad place and therapy has always been that first step to feeling better. And it’s at least worth a shot, right? 🙂

The Result

It’s felt really good to check in with myself again after all the craziness of the last year. I know I won’t always have the luxury of totally focusing on myself and my own needs so I’m glad I can appreciate it while it’s right in front of me. This time has helped my think about what’s next for me in my life and I’m starting to get a game plan together, which is really exciting and empowering.

It’s honestly kind of fun to get to know myself as an adult and I have to say, I’m pretty proud of who I am! I’ve made some difficult decisions in the last year and have come out strong on the other side. I actively make joy in my own life, even when it’s hard. I have agency and push myself to keep doing what’s best for me – and that’s what self care is all about.

My Trip to Japan: Nara and Tokyo

My Trip to Japan: Nara and Tokyo

As much as I want to keep living vicariously through my photos of Japan, this is my last post! This was honestly the trip of a lifetime and it has been such a joy going back through my pictures and reading my journals from it. […]

A Few Snapshots from Colorado

A Few Snapshots from Colorado

Last week I was in Denver for work and got to tack on a weekend in Boulder to visit my dad and stepmom. I don’t travel a lot for work (unlike a lot of people) so it’s nice to be able to make an event […]

A Morning at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

A Morning at Olbrich Botanical Gardens

Over the weekend my friend Anna and I took a little expedition to Olbrich Botanical Gardens here in Madison. Have you been? I’ve visited a couple of times this month and I think it’s becoming one of my favorite spots in the city. It reminds me a lot of the Botanical Garden in Dublin, which was a total happy place for me with the gray Irish weather. Olbrich has the same sanctuary vibe and includes elaborate grounds, a butterfly garden, and even a gorgeous gold Thai Pavilion. We had the perfect weather and spent the morning walking around and chatting about feminism, beekeeping, and healthcare technology. You know, the usual.

My Outfit:

Vintage Floral Midi Skirt from Harakuju – Noisy May White Tee (similar here) – old Franco Sarto sandals – H&M Sunglasses

Anna’s Outfit:

Her adorable dress is from Old Navy and it’s on sale here!

After spending some time in the butterfly garden, we met up with Anna’s boyfriend and grabbed lunch at Weary Traveler on Willy Street. I was craving red meat like crazy (needed that iron I guess?) so I went for the steak and a bloody mary and did not regret it even a little bit. After lunch, we dropped into A Woman’s Touch, Madison’s local independent sex shop, and then parted ways to go home and nap away the rest of the afternoon. I love Saturdays like this – relaxing with friends and getting outside to enjoy the weather while we still have it. I can already tell the days are getting shorter and it’s totally stressing me out!

Isn’t the Thai pavilion wild? I had no clue it was there the first time I visited – I can’t wait to come back in the winter and see it completely covered in snow. I just think that’ll be magical. There’s a beer garden at Olbrich across the street, too, that I’ve been meaning to check out. Definitely a good excuse to come back soon!

My Trip to Japan: Heian Shrine + Kyoto

My Trip to Japan: Heian Shrine + Kyoto

Day Four – Kyoto, Heian Shrine, and Teramachi Street My first full day with Betsy started out with a serious hangover and an incredible lunch. After a night of drinking a boat load of mugi the night before – a potent Japanese liquor – and […]