madisen kuhn


a picnic + a reflection

the poetry picnic in rittenhouse square this past saturday was everything i'd hoped it would be. i scheduled it to start exactly one hour after my train arrived in philadelphia, so i was really setting myself up for a high-stress/pressure scrambling to make sure i was prepared and there on time. thankfully there were no amtrak delays (for once!) 

christopher and i stopped by trader joe's and target on our trek from 30th st station to rittenhouse square and picked up a very cute picnic blanket from hearth & hand with magnolia (because, of course, i forgot to pack one) and fruit and limeade and all of the picnic necessities. i was anxious about being prepared and on time, but that was it. i've only done maybe 2 "meet-up" type of gatherings, so i was fully expecting to feel anxious about this picnic, expecting my brain to be filled with thoughts like, what if i don't know what to say? what if there's an awkward silence? what if they don't like me? what if i embarrass myself? what if no one comes? i had a few of these, but let them float away fairly quickly and easily. mostly, i was just filled with excitement. 

it feels like magic when you are able to look back and see such a strong contrast from who you were the last time you visited a specific place. when you're in the deepest trenches of anxiety and agoraphobia, a life without: hyperventilating, bloody cuticles, panic on/in trains, city sidewalks, dimly lit restaurants... feels impossibly out of reach.

but then you learn to breathe deeply, add some experience and tools to your belt, and suddenly you find yourself feeling peace as you stare out of an amtrak window, floating down crowded streets, being (maybe a little too) talkative with new friends while eating tacos and laughing. it's not sudden, really. it just feels that way. it takes time, some hard work, some extra support. but it's there, at the end of the road, waiting for you.

it's important to me that i highlight these things. i feel obligated to convey my journey in a non-superficial way. it sometimes feels more appealing to portray myself as strictly a highlight reel. post a photo with a few words of gratitude and humblebragging; let myself be impersonal to maintain a 'perfect' persona. i scroll through my instagram feed and see all these lovely people, traveling and experiencing life in what seems like an effortless fashion. i don't believe it always is. or i don't believe it always has been.

the picnic was beautiful. the rain held off until the very end. it was intimate and personal and pure. everyone came in pairs, which i found sweet. friends, hallmates, sister-in-laws, girls who have been through a lot together. it meant a lot to me to spend this time together, as friends, without the formal division of "reader/fan/follower" and "author/idol." it's important to have these moments, where strangers can connect with each other through a common interest. i love that art, and poetry specifically, has the power to bring people together in this way.


thank you: madelynne, kalia, meg (& her sweet friend i can't find the name of anywhere on the internet), cat, kayla, brennah, annemarie, bri, mia, and christopher. for spending time with me. for sharing your stories. for reading your poetry. for laughing with me. for not letting fear/anxiety keep you from experiencing moments like these. i will cherish the memory forever.


take care,

everyday makeup

I've never been very good at makeup, but since discovering Glossier back in 2016, I've been able to secure a look that is easy enough to execute that I feel confident putting it on any day of the week. Feeling confident in my makeup routine is really important because it means I think less about how I look throughout the day and I'm not afraid to actually wear makeup (which has been the case in the past when I felt like I was 'too bad' at makeup... I just didn't try at all.) 

Here's a step-by-step look at my current everyday makeup look, for the girl (or boi) who sucks at makeup.

Step 1. Moisturize!

 Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich has been my dry skin's savor. I apply it twice a day in the winter and it leaves my skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and glowy. & Balm Dotcom is the  only  lip balm I've tried that  actually  keeps my lips moisturized. I swear by it.

Glossier's Priming Moisturizer Rich has been my dry skin's savor. I apply it twice a day in the winter and it leaves my skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and glowy. & Balm Dotcom is the only lip balm I've tried that actually keeps my lips moisturized. I swear by it.

Step 2. Stretch Concealer in Light.

 A little under my eyes, the acne scars on my chin, and any problem spots.

A little under my eyes, the acne scars on my chin, and any problem spots.

Step 3. Dream Pure BB Cream in 100 Light.

 Very similar to Glossier's Skin tint, just with a little more coverage and less shine.

Very similar to Glossier's Skin tint, just with a little more coverage and less shine.

Step 4. Set with Glossier Wowder and Mario Badescu rosewater spray.

Step 5. Brows.

Step 6. NEW! Lidstar by Glossier.


LIDSTAR by Glossier

I never used to wear eye shadow because I suck at blending it. BUT! Glossier saved me by releasing the easiest eye makeup ever. The shade 'moon' is perfect for an everyday, ethereal look.

Step 7. The finishing touches.

The finished look.

This simple look makes me feel natural yet 'put together' and the shimmer of lidstar and haloscope give me a little delicate/girly vibe. Let me know if you try this look, I'd love to see it!

I'm a Glossier rep, so shop with me to get 20% off your first order and free shipping when you spend $30 or more!

take care,

madisen kuhnComment

Today's blog post is sponsored by Swatch! I'm so excited to be partnering with them. I've been a fan of their watches for years and I'm thrilled to finally have one of my own.




Swatch SKIN

One of my favorite daily rituals is accessorizing. I love how it makes me feel feminine and put-together. It's fun to pick out different pieces based on my mood and outfit. What I love about my Swatch SKIN is that it's so versatile. It goes with everything. I can make it girly, modern, sporty, dressy, casual; seriously, everything. Its lightweight design and simple yet sophisticated look fit in perfectly with my minimalist wardrobe. This is the ideal everyday accessory.

I move, therefore I am.
— Haruki Murakami, 1Q84

I am striving to be present in my everyday life instead of just going through the motions. I'm learning to observe, embrace, and immerse myself fully. Finding thoughtfulness in each movement. Making time to slow down and focus on the good. Sometimes the most important move of your day is seeking stillness. #YOURMOVE #SwatchSKIN @swatch #ad



take care,

madisen kuhnComment
i am not my pain

As many of you know, I struggle with anxiety… and that’s because I talk about it publicly. A lot. And I think it’s important to talk about because it makes others feel less alone in their shit. I remember when I first really started feeling crippled by anxiety (specifically, agoraphobia) I thought I was completely alone. I was convinced I was the only one going through this. I would share my pain on my blog and when others responded with comforting words—because they had also left of college and were unable to exit the house without having a panic attack—I felt understood. And somehow that—knowing that I wasn’t alone—made it easier to go on.

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about how, since the age of 18, I have put my identity in having anxiety. It consumed every part of me, so naturally, it’s what I thought defined me. I’m 21 now, and it’s been an ongoing war full of battles won and lost. There's been a positive trend; not a perfectly straight line going up, but it’s going up. But no matter how high the line has risen, it is still wrapped in bright yellow caution tape that screams MADISEN HAS ANXIETY. It is the earth, and I am the moon.

Last week during yoga, Adriene (of Yoga With Adriene on YouTube) said something about allowing yourself not to let your pain or troubles define you. And something inside me just clicked. I have let my whole life revolve around this pain, but it’s not who I am. I am not anxiety; I am not just someone with anxiety, I am me. I am Madisen. I love dogs and wearing jewelry, and my eyes are always bigger than my stomach when it comes to both food and aspirations. I prefer tea to coffee. I care about people. I’m funny. I’m really competitive in board games. I love milkshakes and the ocean. I am so many things; and I get to decide who I am.

I’ve been meditating on this idea of not defining myself by my pain the past few days, and there has been a noticeable difference in my energy. It’s as if I forgot that I was allowed to do anything without considering my anxiety. Without checking in with it and asking permission to do this or that. And now suddenly, I’m allowed just to be me and live my life and not be so worried about being worried.

On Monday, as I laid in bed at the end of a full day of laughter, it hit me—I realized I didn’t think about my anxiety once that day, much less feel anxious. I was so focused on things that I was excited about—going to the beach (didn’t even consider the fact that I didn’t know where the closest bathroom was. #IBSprobs), eating good food (if you’re ever in Venice, grab a meal at The Butcher’s Daughter and then pick up some doughnuts across the street at Blue Star for dessert), and spending time with people I love (my boyfriend and my cousin who was visiting for a few days before flying home to Florida.) I was kind of shocked because, as I said, I’ve made anxiety a part of me. It’s not just something I struggle with; it is intertwined with every part of me. I think about it so often, you’d think I had a crush on it.

But, holy shit, I am closing this chapter of my life. I am not just a girl with anxiety. I am allowed to be happy, and careless, and free. And I am fully capable of that. I am going to walk around art museums by myself because I fucking love art. I’m going to travel the extra distance to the cuter coffee shop in my neighborhood because I’m millennial trash and I appreciate the exposed brick and tattooed baristas. There are places I want to go and things I want to do that I’ve tricked myself into believing either a) didn’t really matter to me, or b) I was incapable of doing (because of fear.) But they do matter, and I am capable. I can live without fear and discomfort being the deciding factor on everything. I can let the habitual beginning of panic pop into my consciousness, and then watch it float away. I can acknowledge it and say, “thanks, but no thanks. I’ll be just fine.”

Wow, I’m getting emotional typing this in a coffee shop right now (the cuter, further away one, by the way.) I feel freer just writing this. I feel like I've permitted myself to let go. To breathe deeply. To be happy. To consider other things to find my identity in—like being an artist, a lover, an untethered soul. I can be and do anything.

with love,

madisen kuhnComment
i am, i am, i am

I swear that we're all in a constant, recurring state of amnesia. Especially me. My epiphanies seem to repeat themselves over and over again. I wonder when they'll finally stick.

Something that I've been re-discovering is that I am so much more capable than I realize. My anxiety disorder causes me to assume and anticipate the worst. I often view myself as someone who is weak and destined for failure. Therefore, I typically don't even try. I wimp out before my strength can even be tested because I'm too fearful of what the inadequacy will feel like. 

I've been doing a month long yoga challenge with Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. Today is day 11, and I almost skipped for the first time, because I haven't felt physically well all day. But I got on my mat anyway and tried. And I ended up being able to push myself much further than I thought I would. I found a strength within me, a collection of power sitting in the roots of my heart, waiting for me to believe in it. And as I laid on my back at the end of the practice, I felt empowered. glowing. centered. I meditated on the truth that I am more than I know.

I am more than I know.
I am more than I know.
I am more than I know.

When I put myself in these situations of intense intentionalism and focus, I am able to see myself more clearly. I can wipe away all the fog of fear and doubt and emotion, and just be. 

My epiphanies seem to repeat themselves over and over again. I wonder when they'll finally stick.

I guess they'll stick when I put more energy into being present and aware. I get tangled up in a minefield of mind games with myself, and it becomes so hard to snap out of the mess of thought. I'm reading The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer which is teaching me a lot about consciousness and awareness as a human smothered by so much internal and external stimuli. Soon, I will take these lessons that I've learned, and iron them onto my soul like girl scout patches. I will not forget the truths I have discovered because I will wear my sash every day and be reminded of who I am and who I desire to be.

I am. I am. I am.

I am so much more.

take care,

madisen kuhnComment