A blog by Maddie Brady

Recent Posts

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 […]

Blogger Nerds: Fashion Influencer Industry News

Blogger Nerds: Fashion Influencer Industry News

In April of 2018, I began a new side project: a website that covers fashion blogger and social media influencer news called Blogger Nerds. The site covers trends in the blogging industry, announces product launches and blogger events, and offers opinions about the world of fashion […]

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 get easily derailed by goals like that. If I miss a day or something unexpected comes along, I get completely upended and feel like I can’t get back on the horse.

I definitely still have yearlong goals: to feel more fulfilled in my career and to make decisions that are right for me instead of fixating on what other people think I should do. But they’re really big goals and where do I even begin? Taking a huge, nebulous project and breaking it down into small, achievable steps is what I do at work all the time, so I’m curious if this will translate to my personal goals.

So, I’ve decided to do something different this year: to break down my resolutions into smaller, more realistic goals. Each month I will set a few intentions for myself that I want to work on and that I feel will bring me closer to my big, year-long resolutions. This gives me the flexibility to try new strategies and to react to what lives brings along, while still giving me some structure and momentum. I hope a new approach will help me be more realistic, less discouraged, and focused on creating good habits instead of reaching arbitrary goals that don’t suit me anymore.

With all that said, this is an experiment. Part of doing what’s right for me is letting myself try new things and then not judging myself if they don’t work out. I’m going to give it the old (women’s) college try and see how I feel about it. And you guys know me, I can’t resist a good personal project!

Here are my goals for January of 2018:

  • Start journaling regularly again. I went through a period over the summer where I journaled first thing every morning (as part of The Artist’s Way program) and I really took to it. Having that space to reflect and sort through my feelings first thing in the morning was a relief and I think it will make me happy to bring that back for a while.
  • Drink more tea. This may seem random, but it stems from a couple of issues I’ve been having. I want to drink less caffeine because it aggravates my anxiety (science here) and less alcohol because I think it’s the culprit behind some stomach issues I’ve been having. I like having something to sip on at night, though, that feels luxurious and relaxing so I think herbal tea will be a good substitute. Any other suggestions of what to reach for instead?
  • Be more consistent with my blog posts. I feel like I’m starting to get into a rhythm with my posts and I want to keep that up (and do even more!). I’m really starting to focus on what I want this space to be – what I want to talk about, what my voice is, etc. And I know the best way to figure those things out is to write more! Keep your eyes peeled for more good stuff here.
  • Read more instead of watching TV. I’m trying to avoid numerical goals like “read 2 books” or “spend 1 night a week reading” because these ultimately aren’t what help me reach goals. I want to read more in general and I know I will if I make a habit of reaching for a book instead of turning on Netflix.

That’s it for January – I figure that will be enough to focus on for the next several weeks. At the end of the month, I’ll do a check in about how these went and set some new intentions for February (or continue with some of these). I like documenting this kind of personal growth stuff, so I think this will be a fun little project that I can continue to revisit regularly.

Are you setting resolutions this year? Do you think the whole thing is a scam to get people to buy gym memberships? I always like hearing. 🙂 And check out my favorite moments from 2017 along with a few things I’m really proud of in this post.

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 […]

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 […]

4 Guilty Pleasure Christmas Movies to Watch This Weekend

4 Guilty Pleasure Christmas Movies to Watch This Weekend

Christmas Holiday FlatlayI’m such a guilty pleasure pop culture junky and I make no exception at Christmas. There are so many awesomely bad Christmas specials out in the world and nothing makes me happier than a totally cringe-worthy celeb-filled holiday TV nightmare and God bless that we live in a world full of them.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’ve been on a Christmas movie kick lately and have forced my bad taste upon my friends (sorry, Kristin!). So, I’ve rounded up my favorite Christmas guilty pleasure watches and where to find them because nothing feels better than pouring yourself a big mug of mulled wine, getting cozy, and watching something terrible on TV.

A Christmas Prince (on Netflix)

This is the find of the year, guys. I have watched a lot of really bad holiday movies to make this list and this is hands down the best one out there. It’s predictable, cliche, and entirely charming. Made up European country? Check. Handsome but misunderstood royal hunk? Check. Makeover scene? Check. 90 minutes of pure joy? Check. This movie defines Christmas guilty pleasure.

The Holiday (on Hulu)

I know some people consider this to be a Christmas classic so this may be a controversial “guilty pleasure”, but you know any movie that makes Jack Black a romantic lead is going to be questionable. And what could get cheesier and more ridiculous than drunk Cameron Diaz screeching Mr. Brightside by The Killers on a CD? It’s been pretty generally accepted as a regular Christmas movie, but it has all the schmaltz of a guilty pleasure.

The Spirit of Christmas (on Netflix)

I’ll be honest – this one is no Christmas Prince, but it is pretty awesomely bad. It’s about a young lawyer who becomes the executor of an old haunted inn and (you guessed it!) she falls in love with the handsome, but cursed ghost that appears for 12 days every Christmas. This is a real movie that someone made, people. The acting is porn star bad at times, but I appreciate the attempt at something a little more original. Plus, the ghost somehow gets hotter as the movie goes on (or maybe that was just the mulled wine…).

Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas (on Netflix)

Another recent discovery – although apparently it came out in 2015 – is Mariah Carey’s excellently extra Christmas special. It’s filled with badly scripted “at home” scenes, strange celeb guest stars (why, Kelsey Grammar, why?), and, of course, the music of Mimi. Running at only 38 minutes, I’m genuinely not sure why they even made it, but I’m glad that they did.

Apparently Netflix tweeted “To the 53 people who’ve watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?” – I am offended because this is definitely me. So, what else am I missing? There are some real slogs of Christmas movies, particularly on Netflix right now, so let me know what to watch – and what to avoid! The weekend will be here before we know it!

My Favorite Christmas Traditions + A Festive Jumpsuit

My Favorite Christmas Traditions + A Festive Jumpsuit

  I started celebrating Christmas a little earlier than usual this year (because Lord knows we need any excuse for some joy these days) and I’m starting to get so excited, guys! I broke out the decorations, put up my little Christmas tree, tuned into […]

21 Things I Learned My First Year in Madison

21 Things I Learned My First Year in Madison

I can’t believe it! It’s been a whole year since I moved to Madison! I feel so incredibly different than I did a year ago. I’ve started my career, I’ve made a life for myself in a city where I didn’t know anyone, I’ve experienced […]

What’s on Your Human Reading List?

What’s on Your Human Reading List?

A few weeks ago, my mom and I went to the Art Institute of Chicago for a little field trip. We dropped into Cauleen Smith’s exhibit Human_3.0 Reading List while we were there and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. In the exhibit, Smith offers a proposed canon of literature for the modern human. Some of my favorites included Gender Trouble by Judith Butler, Cruising Utopia by José Esteban Muñoz, and The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. Weighty, important, academic books.

The whole thing got me thinking: what would be on my human reading list? There’s a part of me that’s very hesitant to answer that question since I’m like the least qualified person to encompass human experience (no pressure). But it’s also interesting to think about which texts have been paramount to my experience as a person and what I believe is profound enough to share with others.

What I like most about the exhibit is it’s sense of other worldliness – what kind of world would be in if the books she proposed were truly the canon of our time? If more people of color, more women, more queer people, more trans people, more non-binary people were regularly represented in main stream culture? Frankly, I’d like to find out.

Smith’s selections feel both widely prominent and deeply personal. Although I’m not sure I can speak to a larger audience, a few texts that come to mind as being part of my own personal reading list are…

To be honest, I’m sort of surprised by some of my choices (and flinched a little every time I wrote down a book written by a white guy), but it was an interesting exercise to see what struck me as both personally important and significant on a human level. I’m also curious how different this list will be in ten years, too.

It also got me thinking about what needed to be added to my own list – more authors of color, more academic books, more books from other countries. I’ve been in sort of a reading rut lately, so maybe this is the inspiration I need to dive back in!

So, I’m asking – what would be on your list? I think I’m going to start asking people in my life what their books would be – I’ll update this post as I get some answers and feel free to add yours in the comments. 🙂 It’s kind of fun to browse your bookshelf and see what jumps out at you, even if you haven’t picked it up in years.

If you’re in Chicago, I highly recommend checking out Cauleen Smith’s exhibit at the Art Institute for yourself. It closes October 29th, so it’s your last chance! Let me know what you think.

Looking for something to pick up? Check out some of my book reviews here, here, and here.

Epic: PR Writing for a Heavyweight in Healthcare Tech

Epic: PR Writing for a Heavyweight in Healthcare Tech

During my time at Epic, I joined their small team of writers who handled PR and promotional content for the company. My responsibilities included: Writing, researching, and editing articles for their public website, Epic.com. All of these articles were read and approved by CEO Judy […]