Resting My Dogs

Last weekend was one of two weekends that I’ve spent in Atlanta since March. I was hoping for a fun, but chill weekend to sit back, and rest my dogs.

On Friday night, Robert, Laur, Bran and I grabbed an early din din (and margaritas) at our fav place in Brookhaven, Verde. We ate dinner with a local news celebrity, Jovita Moore, too! This furthers our declaration that we only party hangout with celebrities in Atlanta. Anyway, Jovita gave us the low down on what she was going to be talking about on the 11 p.m. news before we peaced out. (By “us eating with Jovita” I really mean that we sat two tables down from her and tried to pinpoint exactly how we recognized her for about 30 minutes.)

Our BFF (read: Lauren’s friend/roommate from Penn State/Italy) was in town from Philly and staying with her aunt in a grandiose penthouse suite in Buckhead. We headed that way after Verde and drank hungout on the balcony overlooking the beautiful city.

Lauren, Madison, Marissa on the balcony in Buckhead

Of course, the next stop on our tour de Buckhead was Churchills where we stayed for the rest of the night dancing, laughing, and wearing lampshades on our heads. It’s become standard for Robert to pluck off the baby lampshades at Churchills and place them on all of our friends’ heads for photo opps, Abu impersonations and balancing acts. See all three acts below:

Robert and Madison

Drew and Margo

Marissa and Lauren

I’d dubbed Saturday as a surprise date night for Robert as a (sort of) “thank you” for everything that he’s done for me especially over the past couple of months. We spent the day at the pool, and he had no idea where we were going/what we were doing until we were on our way to Genki (VaHi style).  It was then that I revealed that we were going… DUN DUN DUN… to see an improve show at Dad’s Garage in Inman Park. His eyes and smile lit up as he asked “That’s great! Um… what’s that?”  I explained as much as I could from what I gathered from the website like: they get ideas from the audience, it’s kind of like a play with no script, it’s supposed to be funny, etc.  Bottom line: neither one of us knew what we were in for…

The show didn’t start until 10:30, so after finishing dinner, we drove on over to the Inman Park area, grabbed a couple of drinks at Pure Taqueria, people watched and talked.  We headed into Dad’s Garage around 10 and snagged a couple of seats towards the back.  There wasn’t a bad seat in the place.  Once the show started, we understood a little bit more about improv.  Our show, Theater Sports showcased two improv teams of three that battled over 4 “themes” that were chosen. The teams would then look to the audience to start a scene and would build the skit based on the theme and the recommendations from the audience. Robert and I It was hilarious and we hope to go back again soon.

I couldn’t have dreamed of a better wind-down weekend in Atlanta. 🙂 This past Memorial Day weekend, we were in Vermont for my cousin’s wedding.  More to come about our beautiful trip to Burlington and Vergennes, VT!

The Sun is Beastly.

Four years ago today, my Nana passed away.  Nana Maggie Kahl was my mom’s mother and she was 82 when she passed.  As the years go by, it becomes easier to say it outloud, but it never hurts any less. She was a light in everyones’ lives that she touched (and not because she was reflecting the beastly sun off of the foil that she laid on for 6 hours a day in our driveway).

When my family moved to South Carolina from Massachusetts in 1995, we didn’t get to see Nana as much as we wanted.  But distance never stopped her from taking a plane down South for two weeks at a time during May and December.  We always enjoyed her company as we drove her around to buy lotto tickets and cigarettes, dragged her to every sports game imaginable, and shopped until we all absolutely dropped.

She was always a great sport and I learned a lot from her visits. She taught me about persistence.  Nana would come through S.C. with some piece of clothing in her mind that she wanted to find while in the South.  It didn’t matter if it was a “lime green sweater” or a “big black belt”, we weren’t going to stop shopping until we found it.  She taught me fashion and the importance of looking nice.  Nana was always dressed to a T in her big hat, big sunglasses and black boots along with a dark tan and a high bun on the top of her head.  And lastly, she taught me unconditional love. Nana loved each and every one of her children and grandchildren in her own way.  She always knew how to make me feel special and loved.

This morning I text my mom to tell her that I was thinking about her today on Nana’s death day.  She text me back with the rhetorical question, “aren’t we lucky that we had her as long as we did?”  Of course we are. I still think that she has a major part of our lives. I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that big things happen to our family around the date of her death.  In the past four years near the date of her death, Merrick has played in a State Cup soccer game, I graduated and landed a job in my dream city and Merrick moved to Charleston to pursue her dream.  Nana will always be a big part of our lives and she’ll always be forever missed.


Happy Mother’s Day, Pattycakes!

My mom has taught me many lessons throughout my 23 short years, but there’s one in particular that rings true in almost every situation in which I’m placed.  A story that exemplifies this lesson happened about 6 years ago before I started my freshman year at Clemson University.  I was so excited to head to orientation to meet my future classmates, visit the campus and schedule classes.  My mom and I made it through the first day with no glitches- everything was perfect. I spent the night in the dorms and my mom headed back to Greenville with the intent to head back to Clemson in the morning to finish walking through orientation with me.

The next morning, my mom picked me up from the dorms and asked if I was hungry. Of COURSE I was! We were forced to eat in the dining hall and I hadn’t gotten used to the cafeteria food, yet- so I didn’t touch it.  We decided to grab bagels at Einsten’s in the Hendrix center around 10 a.m.  As we were sitting down, it seemed as though everyone was scurrying around the campus with a look of purpose on their faces. I asked my mom where she thought they were going and she said, “Pshh they’re probably just going to see the dorms and the dining hall, and you’ve already seen them so we’re fine to just stay here.” My response? “You’re right! Ok.”

My mom suggested that we look through the course catalog and pick out my classes for my Communication Studies classes.  We looked at the general education requirements, electives, and major-specific classes and planned out my first semester as a Clemson Tiger. I was super excited.  When my time came to register for classes in a building across campus that afternoon, my mom and I headed that way with confidence and determination.

Well… when I walked into the room by myself to register for classes, all hell broke loose. I had no idea what I was doing and all of the classes that I thought I needed were no longer open.  When a volunteer came over to help me, she asked how my advising meeting had gone that morning at 10 a.m. “What advising meeting?” I asked.  “Oh my gosh did you skip your meeting today? Sorry I can’t help you,” said the volunteer as she walked away.

We had completely overlooked the advising meeting that apparently the rest of the orientation class had participated in while my mom and I munched our plain bagels with cream cheese.  I finally figured out my classes with the help of another volunteer, but it was probably one of the times that I’ve been most stressed in my life.

But guess what? I don’t regret skipping my advising meeting.  There’s no way in this world that I would give up the hour and a half that I spent with my mom talking about classes, my future and laughing about random things.

Lesson learned from my mom?

Cherish the time that you get to spend with the ones that you love because it beats everything.       

I’m so lucky to have my mom. She’s the first person that I want to call when I’ve had an exceptionally good day or a really bad day. She’s the person that I go to for advice on anything and everything. She’s the person who I know will share smiles, tears and laughs with me at any moment. I see a lot of my mom in myself and I love it.

Happy Mother’s Day, Ma!

My Family

Baby Girl Is Graduating!

As I sit in Tampa wide-awake when I should be getting rest for my early media briefing tomorrow morning, I can’t help but think about how excited I am to see my baby sister, Merrick, graduate from Clemson University on Friday.

My sister is my best friend. We understand each other on a level that no one else possibly can. Our phone and text conversations would seem as if they’re in code for anyone else listening or reading them. It was a big adjustment for both of us to part ways when I moved to Atlanta after spending almost every waking moment together for our overlapping two years at Clemson. But, we’ve made the best of it with in-person visits, Facetime sessions, 5+ phone calls a day and 15+ texts a day. As Merr embarks upon this next chapter in her life, it will again be a big adjustment, but I’m confident that our relationship will grow even stronger (and the text message correspondence will most likely increase).

On Friday, our family will be attending Merrick’s graduation ceremony at the beautiful Littlejohn Coliseum and Robert and Sam will join us for dinner afterwards at a nice restaurant in Clemson.  Then… it’s celebration time at a Clemson staple, The Esso.

Merrick’s worked so hard over the past four years to make good grades, learn through internships and apply to top medical universities to reach her final goal of getting into the Medical University of South Carolina.  MUSC is in Charleston, S.C. and Merr will be heading down there for good on Sunday.  She’ll be living with her best friend/next-door neighbor/fellow Bramblewood Monkey, Ansley in a cute apartment within walking distance of MUSC.

At MUSC, Merr will be studying physical therapy and will ultimately end up with a doctorate degree after three years of schooling and rotations combined. It’s going to be weird to hear people refer to her as Doc, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it quickly.

Words can’t express how happy and proud I am of my sister. She is the smartest, most put-together, beautiful young woman thatI know and I know she’ll rock it at MUSC. I can’t wait to visit her. Watch out Chucktown, Little Blondie is going to take over!

Madison and Merrick