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Life Update: Loss, Love, few Looks

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

I never liked the idea of being a multi-hyphenate. But here we are- I’m 42 years old, halfway through 2019 and today I wear many hats. I’ve always worn many hats actually. And as of this year I’ve added yet another ‘hat’ to my head! I promise I’m sharing more on that below- but first I have to share that this is one of those posts I’ve been dreading to write. I’ve put it off for as long as I can, but I’ve been off this website for a few weeks now, and it’s time to share an update.

This summer has been a strange one. While there have been plenty of gifts that have come into my life, I can’t help but feel grief for the gifts that are no longer mine. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to our beautiful dog Maggie. Maggie came into our lives 12 years ago- her story is long and runs deep. It is true what they say about rescue dogs ‘Who rescued who?’

Maggie came into our lives when we were grieving the loss of Ed’s mom, among other things. Our last 12 years with Maggie have felt extremely rich because of all the blessings, love and good times that she gave us. We believe she would have been 15 years old this December. 

Maggie in 2007, shortly after we adopted her. She had given birth to 12 puppies earlier that year.

She will always be remembered as my ‘pretty girl’, ‘girlfriend,’ ‘angel,’ ‘gorgeous girl’- she was all of those things. Right up until her last days her beauty still bowled over me. She had this tough girl elegance with an edge that made me feel so proud- as if I were somehow responsible for her disposition.

After our 1st dog Bailey passed in 2015 she really turned up the affection & charm- she loved to hug & could speak volumes with her deep amber gaze.  Even as she grew older and her color turned from a dark caramel brown to sandy blond she continued to grow more beautiful with age (a lesson, truth- noted).

Christmas 2014 with Bailey (our 1st born) + Maggie in Minneapolis

There wasn’t a day that went by that she didn’t make me smile- or that I found myself taking her photo. She always loved to pose for the camera & was catching backyard birds right up until her last days (really freaked me out). I’ve shared more about Maggie’s story on the Instagram she shared with her little brother Lucé (follow along @two_pretty_birds) in case you’d like to see more of her life with us.

Please, using Maggie’s life as an example- choose to rescue a dog if you are thinking of bringing a new pet into your family. #adoptdontshop

A favorite photo of Maggie, taken the day we moved to CA- I even made it the cover of my credit card

The thing about grief is that it comes baring gifts. My gift in this situation was that it forced me to get laser focused on doing all those things I know I want to do. Grief teaches us that we think we have so much time- but we really don’t. 

There is nothing like fashion when you need a distraction

For months I’d planned on hosting the Polyester sustainable fashion show on 7/20- which happened to be two nights after Maggie passed. I was far from being in top form, never mind getting up in front of a crowd and hosting a fashion show. But I knew I wanted to host this show with Tricee Thomas and her non-profit The Garment League. I knew I wanted to show up to support & promote sustainable fashion in Arizona. I knew I wanted to share my upcycled art with this community (another facet of this event). I’d knew I’d regret not being there, no matter what the circumstance.

My good friend and founder of digital magazine Amare by Heidi. Thank you for supporting me Heidi!!

Other than the obvious lessons on love, beauty & aging– if Maggie’s life taught me anything, it’s that we are capable of so much more than we think we are. I made it to the show. By the grace of God I made it through and I had such a blast. So thank you to everyone that played a role in helping me to enjoy a few hours of complete bliss among this grief. That night, not only was I invited to host the Polyester show alongside a major Phoenix fashion and art figure Tricee Thomas, but I was invited to show my art for the first time ever, and I had four of my own muses walk the runway that I dressed in my sustainable fashion finds (many of which came from my own closet).

Adorable Model Azianna Diaz modeling both upcycled fashion by Cynthia J + my upcycled art

Me with the founder of Polyester, The Garment League + Tricee Thomas Styling Agency

Didn't turn out so bad... thanks to a lot of makeup, a great outfit and lots of icing my face!!

One last gift that this summer has dropped in my lap- one that I guess you could say I’ve given to myself- well, and with the prodding and encouraging of many friends and family. I have decided to actually ‘do’ my art. I am committing myself to developing my art brand and sharing it with the world.

My art is like a piece of myself that opens a door to a whole new world, so for now I’ll just give you the cliff notes version- but I promise there will be so much more to come on this in future posts- and honestly, there might be a whole new website coming through as well.

It's here! ReFashionedArt

Here it goes! I have branded the upcycled art that I create as ReFashioned Art. This is my latest project in spreading the message of sustainability, self-expression + style through another medium, this time my art. As an advocate for Fashion, Art and Sustainability I believe that there is beauty to be found in all things everywhere- even in someone else’s discards, essentially trash.


I hope sharing my art provokes you to reconsider what you consider to be trash and seduces you to choosing a more sustainable lifestyle however you can.

Stay tuned for more! That’s all for now!
Mark your calendar: I’ll be showing at the Conscious Collective Popup Shop at WAYLA Studios 9/16- 10/11/19.

You can now follow my upcycled art journey on Instagram @ReFashionedArt where I'll be sharing my new pieces, a little bit on my process and where I'll be showing.


You can still follow me on Instagram @iamlauramadden to see my sustainable and secondhand fashion & styling inspo and how I live a stylish + sustainable life. 

I will continue to manage the @two_pretty_birds Instagram where I’m amping up my advocacy on rescue animals and a peak into the life of my Schnorkie stray Lucé. Please follow us and share!

By for now friends!



Cover photo by Nichole Reynolds


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