Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bringing Back the Sparkle

Today I wanted to reflect on an article I read in the Huffington Post. 

It was entitled "10 Vintage Styles That Really Need to Come Back"

Day gloves. pencil skirts, heels and red lipstick. The trademarks of our grandmothers. Ever wonder where that glamourous fahsion sense went? I know I do. I mean, don't get me wrong. Sometimes a hoodie and jeans is the best remedy to a bad day. Or a baseball cap and yoga pants are the best items of clothing to accompany you on a brisk walk outside. But more often than not I wish I could throw on some tights, a fluffy dress, fascinator and hit the town with B.    

What made me decide to post about this topic? No ladies I am not aiming to be hard on us girls of the 21st century. I follow so many wonderful women bloggers that have magnificent fashion sense. BUT. I do wish some of these styles would make their way back into the pages of Vogue. Some will make the occaisonal appearance. But altogether? Haven't seen it yet. I just remember flipping the pages of my Grandma Doris's photo albums and gazing into the photos that took me back in time. Those images are part of why I love fashion. 


Things I love about the '50s: The dresses. The leather jackets. The Fonz's hairdo. 

Believe me I am almost the definition of the driven, independent woman. But the gloves and the skirts in this picture are lovely. So classy. Do I even own an apron? No.  I am sure my Garndma Agnes looked this beautiful. My Grandpa to this day dons the Fonz's hairdo. Just for one day I'd like to step out of my house in white heels with those headbands!

And the '40s. These Rosie the Riveters broke the tradition of staying at home and took over the workforce during World War II. But leave those pencil skirts behind? I think not! I own more jeans than skirts. This picture makes me want to toss the blue jean look aside and buy deep red lipstick, set my hair and never leave the house looking anything less than this fabulous again. 

And the Women of the Roaring '20s.

This generation is getting a LOT of attention. These women dripped with elegance. I am so happy to see some of these styles coming back due to the rising poularity of The Great Gatsby motion picture. The film makes you want to step into the television and the join the party.  Gatsby along with a personal favorite, Downton Abbey, bring this generation to life.

For the girls who have never asked their grandma which shade of lipstick would work better with an outfit or simply have never tried on a full skirt: I challenge you to one day pick out a dress worthy of one of  these genrations of ladies. Go out on the town. Take pictures. Experience how beautiful these looks can make you feel!

A glimpse at a couple family photos that helped inspire this post

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Randomness in the District... And the Beginning of Winter!

Hello everyone! Sorry I have been absent from my page for so long. I am not a professional wrtier but totally felt like one recently. Just because I had to wait until it felt "right" to sit down and write for Miss Madison in Heels. Truth is, I missed it!

So this post really has no theme because it can't have one. I have done a long list of activites this month. And of course I want to share the highlights with you all!


I first came to DC in 2009 as a Political Leadership Program Intern at The Washington Center.  I have been missing volunteering and decided I needed to make room for it again in my life. Just because I have a big girl job that is 60 hrs/week (UGH) doesn't mean I can't be that passionate young person anymore that looked at DC with widest eyes and biggest smile ever. So with the help of some friends I attended some great events that you should make a priority to attend yourself. 

Dr. Ray Solano's 6th Annual Food Drive and Fundraiser for Capital Area Food Bank 

Mali Creative's SOAR Retreat 

Thanksgiving Weekend with Fam.

So I am curious, what do all you DCers do when you have family come into town? For the Blankschen/Gonska/Weber families we hit the usual Smithsonians and monuments. This time I switched it up and took us to the Newseum and Busboys and Poets for lunch. But my little sister had never seen the Declaration of Indepence or the Constitution. So being the history nerd I am we had to Uber there so she could take in all that history. The line was huge, but as a thank you for my mothers service (she is a Cpt. in the Army) we got to go through the side door. Thanks Mom!

And what would life be without friends?

This is Michelle. One of my best friends from back home in CT. She is new to the DC area and is embracing so many opportunites/friends! I am definitely spoiled to have her around, she joins me in most of my adventures. 

The Tabard Inn, One of my favorite places to eat in DC


At ICE! At the National Harbor. $34 and really cool Christmas activity. A whole winter wonderland of ice sculptures. They give you coats and there is an ice slide! (Note: bring a scarf and gloves it is 9 degrees inside.)

And Keaghlan and Caitey. We visited a friend DJ at Midtown DC. The men (who were annoyed that we made them take a million photos) took so many pictures of us we just burst out laughing.

So there it is, my last three weeks! Until next time my faithful readers :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Crisp Fall Air and a Trip Home to New England

So I skipped the strength training portion of my workout today to catch up on Miss Madision in Heels. You know how sometimes you feel like you keep spinning and spinning around and can't stop because life gets so crazy? Yea. That has been me for the past two months. We are on the countdown to closing on our house, I've had a bit of success at work and B and I went home for a mini vaca. We originally had plans to travel down to FL but we are glad we decided to go home, because lets be honest, that is where the heart is. 

When I stepped out of my Fiat 500 (YES. I do have one of those) for the first time in Connecticut, the crisp fall air greeted me like an old friend. And there is nothing better than a New England fall. 

This is outside of the Seasame Seed in Danbury. It is a victorian home turned restaurant in Danbury. The lebanese cuisine is delicious. This day was a huge treat because my cousin Alana (<-- her blog) is finally home from being a world traveller. The girl is the definition of adventurer, having lived in Korea for the past three years, South Africa before that and has visited every single continent on this planet. She is a foodie who always introduces me to new cusines, an avid exerciser and overall badass. She can land anywhere in the world and discover any culture away from five star hotels and tacky tours. 

                                                    Alana, Myself and our Grandma!


Our visit obviously consisted of drinks with friends, family parties and nights by my Dad's pellet stove with plenty of wine but there is one more thing in CT I want to introduce you to. 


Right?! Leaves me breatheless. This is Candlewood Lake. Perhaps my favorite spot in the entire state. The lake is 11 miles long nestled in the heart of Fairfield County. I have so many memories here. As a child my dad would launch his boat and I'd jump on the tube to be pulled the whole 11 miles just taking in the beauty of this spot. This picture says it all. An hour outside NYC if you are in CT or NY this should be on the top of your list.

Until next time... 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Girl's Weekend in the District

My husband's schedule flips flops constantly and every other month he works EVERY weekend. (Bummer, I know.) But this weekend I decided that I would make it count, it was so dismal and rainy the weeks before. And what better way to do that than support a great cause and enjoy Alexandria with my girlfriends? 

Supporting The Tiger Lily Foundation at the EmPOWER Ball. I want to urge all of my readers to look into this organization that supports women battling  breast cancer. Maimah Karmo's story is incredible. The event truly made an impact on me. My grandmother passed from cancer and I left the Hilton McLean saturday night tremendously moved and ready to volunteer my time. A big thank you to The DC Ladies for telling me about the EmPOWER ball.

And then of course, brunching on a Sunday in Old Town. French Toast Brioche... what can I say? Best anywhere. Followed by some strolling the colorful of streets and parks surrounding the area. 

What am I wearing?

Gown- BCBG Max Azria
Jeans- Jcrew 
Sweater- Jcrew 
Coat- London Fog
Shoes- Coach

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Going Back to Charleston, Back to where I Belong....Well after DC :)

In 1939 when Rhett Butler (aka Clark Gable) said those infamous words leaving Scarlett crying in her mansion, a crowd of teenagers in a local theater stood up cheering. They cheered for their city, now named one of the best cities in the world, Charleston SC. No, that's not recorded in a history of film book anywhere. I heard it as a little girl, crawled up next to my grandmother listening to stories about her home. 

This past July my Mom, myself and some friends travelled down to Charleston SC. We piled up in a van and drove the eight hours from DC to land in Charleston around six pm. I noticed my mom's face soften and I could tell she was recalling the summers of her childhood spent with her grandparents and cousins. What crossed my mind was... GRANDMA why on earth did you let Papa take you up to the frigid northeast?! You see my grandparents had a very notebookesque story. They met at a USO dance right after the war. They fell in love and started a life together in my native CT. But I still feel a connection to this place. My wonderful aunt lives there. The history is amazing. The southern cuisine is sooo delicious I promise you won't eat for days after you return home from your visit. 

My tips for a visit:

Go to the battery. The history lover will just swoon at the homes that overlook the harbor. You can't help but imagine yourself walking one of the balconys waiting to attend a party. 

Rainbow Row. Quick but worth it. You can end your walk of the battery here. 

The Hominy Grill. Reccomended by my Aunt Honey and to die for! Pumpkin Ginger Bread is a must. 

Avoid the busy beaches and if you want to sun yourself go to one of the islands. 

Mt. Pleasant. Dinner at the Shrimp Boats. 

Charleston Tea Plantation. The only tea planatation in America and free samples. Cheap tour 10$. 

The Angel Oak. Breathtaking.

Walk the Old Village in Mt. Pleasant. If you look closely at some of the shops you can see old signs from the '40s. 

Magnolia Cemetary. No one will be there, but you can learn so much from a cemetary. The old Civil War graves send a chill right through you. 

The Citadel. My grandparents were married here after the war. There is a beautiful Church and a small museum that gives you some interesting facts about students throughout the centuries.

Pineapple Fountain. Just for a neat picture. You can wade in it "at your own risk."

So even though I went on this trip before I started my blog I wanted to share it with you all. Charleston is a place where you can truly experience the beauty of the South and a piece of United States History. 

Some photos from my trip:

Doris and Herbie. The Grandparents. LOVE. 

The McClenaghan Family home.

You cannot visit Charleston and not get Chicken and Waffles. A personal favorite. 

My Mom and I on the Battery.

The shrimp boats in Mt. Pleasant. 

Although I went to Charleston awhile ago I wanted to share this with you all in the hopes you will pack up a car on a long weekend and GO! Experience this wonderful city.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fall with the Founding Fathers

This weekend was my cousin Karen's last weekend in DC. She was here on assignment for two months and I have been totally spoiled. We've  had a pretty awesome time together meeting for dinner downtown, enjoying wine nights and this weekend we ventured to the western part of VA to the homes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Monticello is absolutely breathtaking. The home is unlike any other historic site I have visited before. Jerfferson is my favorite founding father after all, so of course I'd be partial to his estate. The tour is about forty five minutes and walking the grounds takes you past lush gardens and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After we toured the home, gardens and visited the Jefferson gravesite ( his descendants are still buried there HOW COOL) Karen and I were famished. We ate a quick bite at the cafe and she blurted out "So we HAVE to got to Montpelier now!" OK.

We took the wrong turn five times but made the last tour of James' and Dolley Madison's home. What I liked about Montepelier was that it was a work in progress. They aren't just placing period furniture in rooms and saying this is what James and Dolley would have lived like. They are doing lots of research to find Madison original pieces etc.... and it was so serene. Dolley is known for her love of parties and socializing. But here was her refuge. When you go stand on the porch in the front of the house and gaze at the Blue Ridge Mountains you will never want to leave. 

So verdict: if Brent ever wanted to take me away to Charlottesville I'd be on board.  

Here are some shots from the day... but before I go I want to encourage all my readers to support public history. Take the short drive out to Monticello and Montpelier and visit the homes of these remarkable individuals.


What I am wearing

Shoes: Ann Taylor
Jeans: JCrew
Shirt: JCrew
Scarf: JCrew
Sweater: Banana Republic 


Friday, September 27, 2013

In True Echo Boomer Style, Building in the DC Metro Area

Recently the Washington Post has published a few stories about the Echo Boomers flocking to the DC metro area. The "Echo Boomer"- someone aged 25-32...... and apparently we LOVE DC. We just can't afford to settle in a beautiful townhouse in Georgetown quite yet and are taking our first "established" steps in Northern VA, Montgomery County etc etc.

I mean someday I will have the beautiful townhouse in Georgetown in true Jackie O style ;).......but for right now building a townhouse is more than enough for us. We have chosen Gainesville (next to Manassas) to set up camp. It has a southernesque feel but still close to DC so we can easily metro into the city on the weekends. ( Russia House happy hours don't have to disappear!) The process will take about nine months all together and I will be posting updates constantly. B gets the updates from our project manager, who is awesome, and I spend most my time pintresting new ideas. Our move in date will be sometime in March.

This is what the hardworking staff at Ryan Homes has accomplished so far: 

So just a skeleton but we have come a long way since we have decided to build in May. I can't say the process has been completely stressless, but it is a lot easier than I had expected. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Can't Think about that Right Now. If I do I'll go Crazy. I'll Think about that Tomorrow.

The favorite saying of the average twenty five year old.... Right?!

Around here there is no sugar coating things, life is crazy! That is exactly what I am going to write about today.

In the Gonska household we are constantly moving in a million different directions. When you walk in our door you are greeted by four cats perched on the counter, our phones ring in the text messages from family wondering how we are and there always seems to be mountains of laundry sitting on top of the dryer. B and I both have 13 hour work days and before I can ever tackle my long to do list the nightly question I face is "What the heck are we going to eat for dinner?!"

Throw in keeping up to date on our new construction townhouse and it is then I find myself uttering the words of Scarlett O'Hara and I push off anything else until "tomorrow." But yesterday when I was in dreamland enjoying my one day of the week I can sleep past seven my text message ding (the minuet of course) went off at 9 am. My thoughts were: gosh it is Sunday! Who could that be?! I am not ready to bust out my four miles. Just one more hour. But then I picked up my phone and there it was: a text message from my sister Kelly. 

Rob, her boyfriend of many years and a member of our family, deployed. I knew he was going and wished him well but that text message was all I needed to be brought back to reality.  B was in the Navy for five years and not even a year after we were married he deployed for a year. This is Robs third deployment. Suddenly I felt the feeling I knew all too well. The pain of knowing it would be long time until you would be together again. Knowing that for that time you would have to be ok with living your separate lives, as a close friend once told me. After texting back and forth with Kelly for an hour I was angry with myself for forgetting not to take any moment for granted.

So I got B out of bed, brewed his fave coffee (Girl Scout Creamer Samoa) and decided that for once I wasn't going to push off a day in DC until "tomorrow." We went to the National Book Festival, the Air and Space Museum and jumped on a bike from the capital bikeshare to pedal around the monuments. There were scores of people in line the get an autograph from their favorite authors, people cheered and waved as the presidential motorcade passed and there were huge lines in front of the ever famous DC food truck. With all the smiling and laughter of a DC Sunday I kept in the back of my mind those who were overseas or preparing to go overseas and their families. I was I their shoes once. Brent hurried us home to make sure we had some relaxation time and back in Bethesda we relaxed and enjoyed a night of just being together.

So please never take a moment for granted. And I am going to be totally annoying and say seize the day. There is no better day than today!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Short but Sweet

Whenever B and I go home to Connecticut for the weekend it is never for long enough. I have an enormous family and am always glancing at the clock to ensure everyone has equal amounts of time with us. However, this visit was unbelievably great.

To celebrate my 25th birthday ( too old right?!) my family threw me a surprise parity. The catered food was to die for and although I suspected something (my mother told me to look nice in the middle of the day)  I was surprised to see all my closest friends. With big girl jobs and life getting in the way I honestly have not seen everyone together since my wedding.

And my ensemble for the occasion: Issa London Wrap Dress LK Bennett Black Sybila Pump

So although this post and my visit are short but sweet, what I'd like my readers to takeaway: cherish everyone moment you share with your loved ones.

Monday, September 2, 2013

DC Looks Different Than it did in 1809

So by now you know my last name is not Madison. So who is this Miss Madison I am referring to? Well, she is right there. Mrs. Dolley Madison, wife of our fourth President. Why her? Well let me tell you she was an absolutely stunning fashion icon and philanthropist. She played major roles in two wars that formed our nation. Who wouldn't want to be a Dolley Madison? I think she is the prefect role model. She represents the things I love most: being a supportive wife to my husband and supporting great causes close to my heart. All while being super stylish! But remember Maegen, this is 2013. And Washington looks a lot different.

Let me tell you about myself. My husband and I are 25 (well he is turning 26!) and we just moved back to DC after a three year stint in Norfolk VA. We are building our first home in Gainesville VA and with the help of my two best friends Cate and Libby I will soon face the challenge of decorating the new place.  Libby is an art teacher and helps me think outside the box. Cate is majorly talented and can turn a piece of junk into a beautiful piece worthy of places like restoration hardware. After four apartments?? We are ready to establish some roots. Finally

My hobby is fashion. I like a classic elegant look. I am always combing through the racks at Nordstroms, Bloomingdales, JCrew etc. looking for new looks. My husband will always roll his eyes when I park strategically at the mall. If I am there to take a quick peak into West Elm for something for the new house I always manage to pop into my fave stores. 

I love love history. My favorite job ever was working at Colonial Williamsburg in the Governors Palace.  In the middle of a conversation I'll say something like "O Thomas Jefferson was a huge fan of that!"  And there will be laughter. It's OK. I've embraced my nerdery.

So  although sometimes I think I was born in the wrong time period the Gonskas have arrived in DC. And I hope to tackle this area with all the grace and charm Miss Madison did.