A blog by Maddie Brady

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New City, Who Dis? April Resolutions 2018

New City, Who Dis? April Resolutions 2018

Resolutions from March First up, I’m recapping my resolutions from last month and checking in on how they went and whether or not I’ll be bringing them back for April… Read more. I’ve had like a couple good spurts this month: I read Everything I Never […]

Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 30

Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 30

It’s been a big week! I officially moved out of Madison on Tuesday and am (almost) unpacked here in Chicago. Woooo! I’m so happy I did my Marie Kondo-ing at the beginning of the year because even after all that I still felt like I […]

San Francisco Recap + Why I’m Taking More Friends’ Trips

San Francisco Recap + Why I’m Taking More Friends’ Trips

In the midst of all of the craziness of moving and coming back to Chicago, I treated myself to a little vacation time. I spent a long weekend in San Francisco with some of my oldest friends, Haley and Megan, and we did a whole lot of eating, drinking, touristing, and sitting around watching choreography YouTube videos. It was awesome.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to travel quite a bit, but I’ve done most of it with either my family or significant others. Ever since planning this trip to SF, though, my friends and I have been asking ourselves more and more: why don’t we travel with each other? Schedules can be challenging and money can be tight since we’re all young women working a bunch, but this trip reinforced for me how fun and revitalizing it is to make friends a priority when it comes to travel.

Now that we’re all over the place and we don’t have the same regular breaks from school to see each other we have to carve out time to spend with each other. I’m so glad we’re getting into the habit of it now because these girls are so important to me – when you’ve been friends for 15 years you hang on to them. I can always be myself with them no matter where I’m at in life and I never laugh harder or often than when I’m with them. Here’s to another 15 (and beyond) of travel, adventure, and long life talks over wine.

I put together a little recap of things we did and (mostly) where we ate since I always like to have that stuff for reference. Haley and her boyfriend, Miller, took us to such good spots and had great recommendations that we were stuffed and happy basically the entire time. Here’s my list and some photos, if you’re heading out there sometime soon:

Where We Ate

Where We Drank

Sights We Saw

  • Clarion Alley Mural Project: Political art by the gallon, very grammable
  • Napa Valley Wine Tastings: Definitely a day trip, but worth it if you’re looking for a more relaxed, bougie vibe. Bonus points if you know someone who’s a member at a winery.
  • Lands End: My favorite thing we did! Amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge, pretty laid back “hike”, and can’t beat listening to the ocean for an afternoon.
  • The Painted Ladies: Cute and grammable, not really much else to do but walk around though.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf: Enjoyed some seafood and beer after our hike in this area. Touristy and cute.
  • SFMOMA: Great rainy day activity. I’m a sucker for a great modern art museum and they have a great permanent collection.
  • Shopping at Westfield Centre: Right near MOMA and another great spot to stakeout on a rainy day. Is it a vacation if I don’t go to a mall?
  • Golden Gate Park: I ran through here one morning and it was gorgeous change of pace from my treadmill.
  • Lots of hanging out, watching YouTube videos, eating takeout, and drinking wine.

Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 16

Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 16

Hey friends! First of all I want to say thank you for all the messages about yesterday’s post – I was pretty nervous about putting all that out there, but the support I’ve gotten has helped me keep everything in perspective. You guys are so […]

Some Big Life Changes + How I Feel About Turning 25

Some Big Life Changes + How I Feel About Turning 25

Today is my birthday and, to be honest, I’m starting out 25 in a bit of weird place: I recently left my job after a year and a half and am moving back to Chicago. I’m still in Madison until I find someone to sublet […]

The Complexity of Choice in “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

The Complexity of Choice in “Everything I Never Told You” by Celeste Ng

Everything I Never Told You Celeste Ng Shoes Brick

I picked up Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng expecting a popular thriller. What I got was a beautiful, dark, intersectional portrait of American womanhood.

The other day, I popped by my favorite local bookstore here in Madison, A Room of One’s Own, for something new. I came in with a few titles in mind, but, alas, nothing was in. As I browsed, I picked up Everything I Never Told you – I’d seen it all over Instagram and knew Ng had another book out that was pretty popular, too. I was looking for something quick, so this thin, self-described page-turner seemed to do the trick.

I don’t often get stuck into books from the beginning, but I was tearing through it from page one. The language is soft and dreamlike for a murder mystery and the narrative floats from one member of the Lee family to the next. The plot turns subtly and folds over itself to create a full picture of the family. Sometimes the events are predictable, but the voice is nuanced and driving so the plot feels rich instead of archetypal. It’s the kind of book that hovers around you like a mist for a few days after you finish it.

It seemed timely that I read the book last week during International Women’s Day because so much of what I loved about it is the way it portrays the complexity of several generations of women (and yeah, I know how cliché it is to call depictions of women ~complex~). It’s not a simple feminist tale of “she was faced with adversity and overcame it” – the women in this novel struggle. They are imperfect people working through their own trauma, their community’s racism, and the pressures of liberation and conformity in nuanced ways that are so recognizable it hurts. I’ve been thirsty for female characters who are flawed and brilliant and difficult and this book delivered.

What hit home for me the most, though, is the way this book beautifully captures the pain of falling into a stereotype. Ng’s character Marilyn is a promising scientist who dreams of becoming a doctor, but after meeting her husband in college and getting pregnant she leaves school to become a mother and wife, just as Marilyn’s traditional housewife of a mother always advised her. Although Marilyn always wishes to pursue her education again, she leaves her dreams behind for her family even if it means becoming a stereotype that she spent her whole life pushing against. Something about her situation panged my heart – the pain of letting your dream of trailblazing go for another life that brings you joy, but isn’t as recognizably “feminist”.

Of course there’s so much going on in Marilyn’s case and it’s pretty clear she never lets it go, but her struggle to become something more than a stereotype really struck me. There have been moments when I have made decisions that were best for me, but were seen as “stereotypically feminine” by others. I studied the arts in school, I moved in with a boyfriend after college, I like to cook and have a clean domestic space. I know myself well enough now to know that these are simply parts of who I am, but I have also faced criticism from others and myself that I am failing by falling into a traditional female role – that I am somehow not really a feminist because I am doing something “stereotypically feminine”. It’s complicated both in my life and in the book, but there was something about Marilyn’s chagrin at feeling like a stereotype that felt too real and has left me reeling since I put the book down.

I definitely recommend picking this one up, if you haven’t already – I just lent it to my mom and plan on sending it to a friend. There’s so much in it, especially for a book that’s under 300 pages: discussions of race and class, generational models of feminism, the rewriting of memory, the passing down of trauma, criticisms of homogenous suburban culture. It’s layered and excellent and difficult. It is not a heartwarming book, but it is gripping and poetic. One of my new favorites for sure.

If you’re in a reading mood, check out some of my other books posts: Year of Yes, Big Little Lies, Modern Lovers, and a list of my all time favorites.

Some New (And Old) Goals for March: Resolutions 2018

Some New (And Old) Goals for March: Resolutions 2018

Resolutions from February Here’s a recap of what I focused on in February, if you’re interested: Don’t look at my phone first thing in the morning. Success! I thought this one would be harder, but I actually found it pretty peaceful to leave my phone on […]

Why I Thought Wonder Woman Was a Major Feminist Let Down

Why I Thought Wonder Woman Was a Major Feminist Let Down

I’ve seen more movies this week than I’ve seen in the last several months. Last Saturday I saw Black Panther, I saw Wonder Woman on Thursday, and then went to see Annihilation on Friday. Because I’m me, I end up watching every movie through a […]

Weekend Vibes // The Week of February 9

Weekend Vibes // The Week of February 9

Happy Friday, everybody! I’m off to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics tonight and then have a full weekend of sleeping, working out, and doing not much else.We got a pretty big snow here in Madison last night (pictured above) and I’m just getting over a sinus infection this week so I’m pretty excited to lay low and watch a lot of skiing. Any fun plans for the weekend? Would love to hear. Here’s a few things that fascinated/made me laugh/brought me joy this week…

New York Fashion Week has begun! Some of my highlights so far (even though it started on Wednesday):

Been seeing these Allbirds sneakers on everyone. I originally went to take a look at the white pair, but I love the heather color for spring. They’re soft, wool sneakers and from what I hear they’re the perfect sockless shoes, which is always my jam.

Have you read the insane Quincy Jones interview yet? The sheer volume of references they make will make your head spin, not to mention the bonkers things Jones says like “Marlon Brando would fuck a mailbox.” Also, shoutout to my fellow Pisces for making us all look crazy.

The Onion always getting it right. And of course Nancy Pelosi did the whole 8-hour speech (the longest in House history) in 4-inch heels.

A friend posted this map of Queer experiences this week – it’s such a mix of significant and everyday moments, joy and heartbreak. I wish I knew the full story for each little snippet.

After living outside of Philly for four years, I’m happy they won the World Series. But mostly I’m happy they won because I think Eagles fans would have destroyed Philly if they hadn’t.

Erotica for feminists: “I meet a scientist on Tinder. They go on and on about their biggest professional achievement — the serum that made Ruth Bader Ginsburg immortal. It drives me wild. I don my naughtiest jabot and my sex gavel.”

Just upgraded my Hulu account to include Live TV for the Olympics! It’s $40 for the month, but that feels totally worth it to me for a continuous stream of ice dancing, curling, speed skating, and biathlon (cross country skiing and rifle shooting, obviously).

Why Elon Musk Shooting A Car Into Space Really Bugs Me

Why Elon Musk Shooting A Car Into Space Really Bugs Me

In case you haven’t heard: Elon Musk sent a pretty powerful rocket up into orbit – but not without decking it out with a Tesla car inside complete with spaceman and accompanying soundtrack. (*Cue me rolling my eyes endlessly forever*) The spaceship itself is really […]