Alicia Hazen (a k a “Madtown Momma“) is a Madison-based blogger/influencer covering Midwest lifestyle, fashion and motherhood. “My hope is that Madtown Momma inspires others to live life to the fullest and try something new, through sharing my favorite local businesses, travel spots, beauty products, and/or outfits of the day.” Learn about Alicia Hazen…
Hometown: Racine, WI
First job: Sales associate at Rogan’s Shoes in Racine. I worked at their flagship store for nearly four years, including a few summers I was home from college. This was the start to an extensive shoe collection that I built over time.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in WI: My family and I love to camp, and bought a pop-up last summer. So, we try to camp at a new State Park every year. I love exploring Wisconsin State Parks and fostering a love of the great outdoors in my son. Last year, our new campground was Lake Wissota State Park in Chippewa Falls, and also the Kettle Moraine State Forest. This year, we are planning to visit Harrington Beach State Park near Port Washington. We also try to schedule at least one long weekend in Door County, which is my favorite place to vacation in Wisconsin! It combines my love of shopping small, eating local, hiking with the family and visiting wineries, all in one trip.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: I could say graduating from a Big 10 institution. Or receiving a prestigious, merit-based scholarship to attend. Or winning my first professional award. However, I know this may sound cheesy, but having my son was my biggest accomplishment. After two back-to-back losses, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to carry a baby to full term. But, thankfully, he blessed our little family with his presence in June 2015 and is truly my greatest joy. Raising him to be a kind human is an accomplishment in and of itself. So, I am one proud momma when I hear positive feedback from others, like his teacher, of what a great friend he is. Or how kind he is to others. Because it reinforces what I already know and love about him. We are not perfect parents by any means, but we must be doing something right. He’s an amazing kid.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I enrolled in graduate school nearly 20 years after completing my undergraduate degree in Fall 2019. When the pandemic hit, I was half way through my second term. Not only was I still getting used to being in school again, and learning online, but I also had to learn how to adapt to working from home full-time, with no childcare. My son completed nearly eight months of kindergarten completely virtual. But I stayed enrolled throughout the full duration of the pandemic and basically did school work after my son was in bed and I had already worked a full eight-hour day remotely for my day job (blogging is my side gig). I am proud to say, I persevered and graduated in May 2021 with a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership & Change from Edgewood College. Second to having my son, that was a huge accomplishment.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mother. Hands down. My father passed away when I was not quite 3 years old, and she wound up raising two young kids on her own. Despite working full-time in a director-level position for our school district, she made it to every musical, track meet, basketball game and concert for both me and my brother. She taught me a strong work ethic and also how to be a strong, independent woman and firm, yet loving mother. I have always admired her strength. But now, having a child of my own, I don’t know how she did it. Single parents have to do it all, and they don’t get a break. Yet, it didn’t break her either.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: There is so much information out there about blogging and influencing and everyone has an opinion. A common theme is “you have to find your niche” and then stick to it, which I disagree with. I don’t want to talk about the same thing over and over every day until I decide I’m done doing this. I have a lot more to say and share than simply talking about one thing consistently. Find your voice. And be uniquely you. You don’t have to do the same thing everyone else is doing. Nor do you have to compete with others. There is room for all of us. I asked a lot of questions of people who had walked this path before me. And built a community of other bloggers and influencers I bounce ideas off of regularly. But don’t let anyone tell you there are too many blogs about fashion or motherhood or whatever you want to do already. Or that the market is flooded. If you want to do it, just do it. Start the blog. Be consistent in posting. Build your community. And don’t worry about what anyone else says! Just do you. Because you do you best.
Favorite quote: “Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine” –Anthony J. D’Angelo
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I feel like there are many things people might be surprised to hear. Like, that I’ve been to Antarctica. Which not many people can say. Or maybe that I played violin for 15 years, even through college, and can’t even eek out “Mary Had A Little Lamb” anymore. Maybe that I am from Wisconsin, but absolutely despise bleu cheese?
What makes someone fabulous: Being 100 percent authentically themselves, despite what people may think of them! I just love when you meet someone who has come into their own, knows who they are, owns that and is willing to just rock their fabulous uniqueness. There is vulnerability in that, in a society where we’ve been taught to conform. And my wise friend tells me vulnerability is my superpower.
Top-of-page image credit: Sheree Rayford