A blog by Maddie Brady

Recent Posts

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 […]

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 cool and I know Elon Musk will save us all with his Mars colony once the Earth is a fiery mass, but his antic really just rubbed me the wrong way.

I know – it’s stupid, right? It’s a car in a spaceship! But it’s not really Elon Musk that makes me mad, to be honest. I think his whole stunt reminds me of a lot of other conversations I’ve been having with my friends about men, privilege, and what our culture is willing to indulge when it comes to the male ego. Let me catch you up…

PC: The Guardian 

I’ve been thinking a lot about the ways that our culture excuses men for things that suck. Obviously a lot of this has been spawned by the Time’s Up movement, the Aziz Ansari article, and the almost daily revelations of sexual harassment and abuse by one famous man after another. I’ve seen a lot of people make excuses for these men because they make great movies or are very successful businessmen, but that’s the kind of thinking that protects them. The whole idea that someone’s contributions to the world can somehow protect them from the consequences of their own actions is pretty fucked up.

I’ve also been have a lot of discussions with friends about the expectations we have of men in relationships. One friend is taking classes to prepare for her new baby and over and over again she hears the refrain: women are primarily responsible for domestic labor and we should praise men for picking up a dirty dish. Our culture doesn’t expect men to take care of themselves or, God forbid, take care of a family. We laugh it off saying that men are just messier than women or don’t care about that sort of thing instead of setting the bar higher for men. We just don’t expect men to step up in the way that is inherently expected of women, especially in domestic spaces and relationships.

A friend sent me this article recently that talks about “the price of genius” and I think it sums it up pretty well: when men shirk their duties and damage their relationships in the name of their work, it’s considered the price of genius. In fact, we lift up this behavior as being the ultimate sign of dedication to their work – so what does that say about women who aren’t typically afforded the same opportunity to wall themselves up if they so choose? That they aren’t dedicated? That they don’t care as much? But women don’t get to have it the other way, either – when a women shirks her duties, particularly domestic duties, she’s a bad mother and heartless bitch. There’s no way for her to win so work-life balance becomes a daily struggle for women, but weird that men never get asked questions about how to “have it all?”

PC: The Chicago Tribune

Okay, so you’re probably thinking “Maddie, you’re really just going on a rant about how much the patriarchy sucks and this has basically nothing to do with Elon Musk.” And like, you’re not totally wrong lol – I have been especially existentially exhausted by being a woman recently…

BUT I can’t help but see this pattern again and again of how we, as a society, make excuses for men in so many arenas of life. It’s fine that my male partner never does the dishes because he works a lot (as if I don’t?). It’s fine that Woody Allen sexually assaulted a child because Annie Hall is a masterpiece (as if that makes up for it?). It’s fine that Elon Musk shot his own car into space for the hell of it because he’s such an incredible businessman (as if it wasn’t an obnoxious ego trip?). Obviously there’s a huge spectrum here and I’m not trying to conflate any of these things together, but, to me, these are all examples of how society lets men get away with things that women would be criticized for or not allowed to do in the first place.

At the end of the day, it’s not about Elon Musk. It’s the fact that we indulge Musk’s ego trip as a fact of life and don’t question it because he’s a rich white guy. It feels like the same indulgence afforded to so many other men for so many other reasons. They all fall on varying degrees of the same turn-the-other-cheek mentality society has when it comes to men. Women can’t make any mistakes, while men just have to do one thing right.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about the last couple of days lol. You can take the woman out of the women’s college, right? Cheerier stuff coming to the blog soon, but I really want to use this space as a place to process a lot of the shit that’s going on right now. I’m not always going to get it right – and maybe you think this is a stretch – but I’m just synthesizing a lot of the things I’m noticing about the world. Thoughts welcome!

(P.S. Elon – you wanna put a woman on the BOD of SpaceX? Or more than one person of color? Just sayin’.)

What I’m Focusing On This February : Resolutions 2018

What I’m Focusing On This February : Resolutions 2018

Hey all! As I mentioned in this post, I’m doing my New Years resolutions a little bit differently this year: instead of making one huge (and likely unattainable) goal for the year, I’m breaking down each month into smaller goals. Makes sense, right? January was […]

Weekend Vibes // The Week of January 26

Weekend Vibes // The Week of January 26

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Weekend post, but a lot happened this week and I’d like to get back into these! It’s always so fun to look back and see what was on my mind. I’m excited to have a pretty […]

What Do I Buy with My Free People Gift Card? + A Major Anthro Sale

What Do I Buy with My Free People Gift Card? + A Major Anthro Sale

You know what’s even more satisfying than doing a big Marie Kondo clean out? Finding a $128 Free People gift card in the process, especially after you’ve just given away 75% of my clothing. I’ve been scoping out some pieces online and thought I’d share what I’m thinking about getting.

You’ll notice quite a few pairs of shoes on my list and that’s because I love Free People for statement shoes that are still good quality. I got a pair of Jeffrey Campbell boots from FP a few years ago that I honestly wore to death – I’ve never gotten more compliments or had a more comfortable pair of going out shoes. Here’s to hoping I find another pair of winners (plus, a few other things)…


Vegan Joplin Ankle Boot ; Gloria Pullover

I love that these boots totally make a statement, but are neutral enough to go with everything. Plus, I think they’d transition really nicely from winter into Spring.

This is an obvious choice for me and I’m really digging the orange and baby blue combo. But to be honest, I would rather spend that kind of money on a Rachel Antonoff Reproductive System Sweater, which is my dream wardrobe item.


Mary Louise Set ; Sydney Hiker Boot

This set is on the pricier side and might be too flowy for me, but I have to say I’m obsessed with the idea of a chunky, plaid jumpsuit. And the frills at the waistband are the best little touch!

I really like these boots – they’re a contender. I love white for winter and I think they’d look so cute with denim or a flippy mini skirt. My only concern is that the reviews mentioned they get dirty really quickly, which I totally believe. It’s a predicament.


Tatum Over the Knee Boot ; Tennessee Lace Up Boot

These boots are really just a pipe dream, but I thought I’d throw them on here. They’re so badass, but even with my giftcard, there’s no way I can justify buying them. But how cute would they look with a chunky knit and jeans? Or a turtleneck sweater??

I’ve always been a sucker for lace up boots like this – they hit that sexy victorian note that I like a lot. These don’t come in my size, but I’m going to keep my eye on them in case they come back in. I think they’d be a really good choice.


Color Blocked Jacket ; Pixie Pearl Slide Sandal

I seriously don’t need a coat but how easy and cool is this one?! I love a piece that you can just throw on and instantly feel amazing in – even if you’re just wearing jeans and a white T on underneath. This would totally elevate any weekend wear.

I feel like sandals are wishful thinking right now, but I love these pearl slides in a sunny yellow. They make me want to move to LA, eat avocado toast, and getting really accidentally sunburned.


High Road Hiker Boot ; Seeking Heart Mini Dress

These boots are cool… right?? I think with ankle length jeans and a denim jacket they would be so cool! I’m really into simple outfits with super extra accessories right now and these certainly fall into that category.

This dress looks so comfortable, while also giving off major casual workplace vibes. I could definitely see myself wearing something like this to the office with my stan smiths or too brunch when I’m hungover and need something easy to throw on.


Come Back For Me Cashmere V-Neck Sweater ; Renegade Platform Loafer

I am a slouchy, cashmere v-neck addict and I’m not afraid to admit it. I think they’re practical, versatile, and sexy. This would be a great investment piece – plus, it comes in pink!

Guys, I think I’m crazy because I weirdly really love these loafers. I feel like they’re way too Petra Collins’ Instagram for me, but I’m sort of obsessed with the blush color and super chunky sole. What’s happening to me?


Wrenlette Slipper ; Business In The Front Top

I originally saw these slippers on Design Love Fest’s Bri Emery and totally fell in love. They would be perfect for one of those crisp spring mornings where you still need a sweatshirt and a little something on your feet. Once again, getting my hopes up…

I have not been a fan of the off the shoulder trend (how do you put your arms ups???), but this top might make me reconsider. The billowy sleeves and menswear-inspired pinstripes are a really excellent combo.

I also poked around the Anthropologie Sale section a bit since my friend, Kristin, texted me that they’re doing 40% off their sale prices. These are some of my online picks, but I always recommend going in store, too – I’ve found some really incredible things that way.


Fiona Corset Belt ; Tied Pocket Jacket

Are we still doing corset belts? This one feels more architectural than bodice ripper, which is actually kind of refreshing.

The bows on this coat kill me and I’m not typically a bows kind of girl. This would be such a sweet coat for a rainy spring day with light wash denim and a statement T underneath.


Mara Hoffman Knotted Gingham Shirt ; Jacquard Peplum Top

This top feels very Orseund Iris to me with the boob wrap going on and I don’t hate it. This actually the second Mara Hoffman piece on my list after the plaid set from FP – perhaps I should be keeping a better eye on her stuff!

This is a little more traditional for me, but I love a beautiful top in a peplum fit. This is a silhouette that always looks good on me (if I do say so myself). I’d love to wear it with white jeans and pearly sandals for day and dark wash denim for night.


Woven Twist-Front Jumpsuit ; Charlotte Stone Fara Feathered Mules

Nooooo so this jumpsuit sold out before I even got to put this post up – but it was around $40, not including the additional 40% off so it’s not a wonder it went so fast. And you know me, I can’t resist a print mixing jumpsuit. 

And last but not least, how fun are these feathery mules? I know they’re completely impractical, but how nice would they be with wide leg, ankle length jeans and a billowy white top? They’re showstoppers.

So, that’s it for my shopping expeditions. But I need help! I’m not sure if I’m overthinking the whole thing or I’m just not ready to use my gift card yet, but I need help choosing something! Luckily, we also have a Free People store here in Madison because I’m such a brick and mortar kind of girl! Let me know if you guys find anything else on there that I may have missed – Free People is such an abyss these days. Happy shopping!

All of my Feelings About Marie Kondo’s Famous Cleaning Method

All of my Feelings About Marie Kondo’s Famous Cleaning Method

Over New Years weekend I embarked on a cleaning mission: to clear out my entire apartment using Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method. If you don’t keep up with the latest in Japanese tidying trends, the KonMari method is a quirky style of cleaning that touts the […]

Why I’m Doing Resolutions A Little Bit Differently This Year

Why I’m Doing Resolutions A Little Bit Differently This Year

This year, I’ve decided to forgo big, yearlong resolutions because they simply don’t work for me! Making a huge proclamation at the beginning of the year is simply setting myself up for failure. I know myself well enough at this point to know that I […]

My Favorite Moments of 2017 & A Few Things I’m Really Proud Of

My Favorite Moments of 2017 & A Few Things I’m Really Proud Of

I actually can’t believe this year is over! It’s gone by so fast, but, not gonna lie, I feel like it lasted forever. Hands down, I have grown more this year than any other. The person I was in January is completely different than the person I am now in December. I’m more independent and confident in every aspect of my life and I’m so proud of that. But, wow, did it come with some challenges.

2017 certainly wasn’t the year that I wanted, but it was absolutely the year that I needed.

A few things that I’m particularly proud of myself for this year:

  • Doing more things by myself. Moving to a new city can be intimidating, but I feel like I really rose to the occasion. I’ve spent the year going to bars alone for an after work beer, taking classes at UW-Madison in dance and writing by myself, and going on walks by the lake on my own. I have always loved hanging out with myself and I feel like I got to cherish that this year.
  • Facing my fear of living alone. Although I’ve always enjoyed doing things by myself, I have always harbored a fear of living alone. I often have trouble falling asleep and get nervous when it’s time for bed and, although I still get it sometimes, I feel the anxiety subsiding a lot these days. It may not be perfect, but I’ve lived alone for over a year now and that feels pretty good.
  • Feeling like a young professional. When I started at work, I had total imposter syndrome and for good reason! I was an arts grad doing really technical work in an industry I’d never even heard of. But I’ve learned a ton and really embraced a logical side of my brain that had apparently gone dormant. I’m now comfortable giving big presentations, confident voicing my opinion about technology and business, and have a level of professionalism that only a corporate job can unwillingly instill in you. Work has been fraught for me this year, but I’m definitely better for it.
  • Getting into a more consistent workout routine. I’ve been pretty active ever since I started exercising back in high school, but I really found a routine that works for me this year. Running has always been my staple, but mixing it up with hot yoga and HIIT workouts has made me stronger, more toned, and more challenged than I’ve ever been. I’m more consistent and more excited to workout these days, which feels really good. Next year, I want to branch out even more and try boxing or strength training – they feel so much more approachable now.

On top of all that, my year was punctuated with some pretty amazing moments. I’ve gone on some amazing trips, I’ve enjoyed Madison soooo much, and am constantly reminded how amazing my friends are and how strong my family is. I picked out a few photos of some of my highlights, if you’re interested…

The Women’s March

What a way to start the year! It was the first time I felt proud of my country in a long, long time. Who’s ready to march again in 2018?

A Quick Trip to Florida

A short trip, but it was certainly some much needed sunshine after a long Wisconsin winter. I spent most of the trip drinking coronas and reading on the back deck of the hotel and, honestly, it was perfect.

My Graduation from Trinity College Dublin

Definitely my proudest moment of 2017. I almost didn’t go back for graduation, but it was such an amazing bookend to my time at Trinity. It was great to see all my grad school friends, to be back at all my favorite Dublin spots, and really let it soak in that I got a Masters degree! Cheers to that!

The Most Amazing Trip to Japan

Hands down, best trip I’ve ever been on! I would probably do 2017 all over again just to go back. Seeing my best friend from college, Betsy, was so great – it had been almost 3 years – and getting to experience Japan through her eyes was incredible. Japan is seriously magical. I don’t know how to explain it, but if you ever get the chance to go – do it!

A Great Summer in Madison

After all my travels in the Spring, I was sooo ready to hang out in Madison for the summer. My friends and I spent every Monday night watching The Bachelorette at the local bar, we drank pitchers at the Union Terrace, went to street festivals, hit up the farmers market every Saturday morning, ran a 5K with my mom (her first!), and spent Sunday afternoons going on long runs around town. It fucking rocked.

A Fun (But Challenging) Trip to Colorado

My biggest work accomplishment of the year was this trip I did to Colorado: it was a week of big customer presentations that I organized and moderated myself. It was really nerve racking, but I ended up doing really well, got great facetime with customers (I usually talk to people on the phone), and was really proud of myself for taking on such a big challenge. Was definitely happy to relax with a weekend in Boulder with the parents after all that!

Running My Fifth Half Marathon

I hadn’t run a half marathon in over 2 years, so this was the most nervous I’d been about a race in a long time. Despite getting sick the week before the race, I trained really well and was really happy with the experience overall. I actually enjoyed my long Sunday runs around Madison and nothing beats running onto Lake Shore Drive on a beautiful morning to hundreds of people cheering you on. The pizza and beer at the end didn’t hurt either!

Home for the Holidays

I ended the year on a high note. A great, chill week at home catching up with my family and friends was exactly how I wanted to spend my Christmas. A lot has changed this year – and a lot more will change next year, I’m sure – but that feeling of driving through the town I grew up in feels exactly the same every time.

What were you favorite (or most challenging) moments of 2017? I feel like we all sort of got bowled over this year, so I’m happy to to have a fresh start. And I don’t know, I have a good feeling about 2018. I feel like I’ve gotten through the worst of things for a while and I’m really ready to dive into the new year. Would love to hear your highlights, too!

Also, here are a few blog posts about some of my favorite moments, if you fancy reading more:

  • Read more about Japan here, here, here, and here.
  • Learn more about my summer in Madison here.
  • See some of my favorite snapshots from my Colorado trip here.
  • Check out all my favorite spots in Dublin here.
  • Read more reflections on my first year in Madison here.
Toast’s Last Minute (& Under $50) Gift Guide

Toast’s Last Minute (& Under $50) Gift Guide

  I am a pretty notorious last minute shopper. I’ve never been on the ball when it comes to gift giving, so it’s always a bit of scramble come crunch time. But since I do this literally every year, I have a few tricks up […]