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Hi.

My name is Madelyne Riley, welcome to my blog. Anorexic turned foodie, I'm here to champion eating disorder recovery and body positivity.  I'm having my cake, eating it too, then going back for seconds.  

Strey Designs

Strey Designs

When Sarah Butala, the artist and creator behind Strey Designs emailed about a month ago, I thought I was being pranked. She wanted to know if I’d be interested in her #RealWomen campaign, a photoshoot advertising her 6-way Rove bag. She, a woman I had never met in real life, wanted to take my picture for her store at Mall of America and in return, she would give me a bag. I’m sorry, what? What’s the catch? Is there a fee? Did she lose a bet? Did I somehow misrepresent myself into implying that I was a model? I accepted of course, because I’ve been wanting one of her pieces since I was first introduced to her brand at the Local Coterie fashion show that was part of last fall’s Minnesota Fashion Week. And yes, I want my photo taken constantly, and she’s just going to give me both of those things? It sounded too good to be true, but I went for it anyway.

I entered the studio a nervous wreck. I was about 65% sure that she had emailed the wrong Madelyne, that there was some other woman out there with my name who just so happened to be a professional purse model, and that this was some huge mixup. I was so worried that I wouldn’t be what she wanted, that the photoshoot wouldn’t work out because of me, and that I would be wasting her time.

As it turns out, there was no mixup. I was supposed to be there, as were the six other woman who I had the privilege of spending that morning with. We ate bagels, we sipped mimosas, we had ourselves a super fun photoshoot, and we all went home with a gorgeous hand-made Sashay bag. I feel like a million bucks every time someone compliments me on it.  It connects me to this beautiful and exciting local fashion community, and for that I am truly grateful. 

The photo from that shoot is now hanging in the Strey Designs shoot at Mall of America. I pass it everyday on my morning laps, and it reminds me to stop selling myself short. I am good enough. If someone wants to work with me, it’s not a mistake (necessarily, anyway). I have something to add, I have something to offer, and although I am far from perfect, I am worthy.

The Mall of America location will end its lease soon, and everything in the store is 25% off until April 30th! Head over there and get yourself a little something, I promise you’ll love it.

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