Outstanding October & L’s Engagement!

October and November FLEW by and I can’t believe we’ve already into December. October consisted of many activities including a 10K run, a Ben Taylor concert, the YES!Atlanta Night of Lights 2013, a beautiful weekend in Asheville, N.C., a home concert at Robert’s family’s house, golf and dinner at the Grove Park Inn, and Halloween celebrations at work. A few pictures to depict the major parts of my month:

After our Run10Feed10 10K

After our Run10Feed10 10K

ben taylor

Met John Forte at the Ben Taylor Concert

night of lights1

My beautiful roommates at the YES!Atlanta Night of Lights

grove park dinner

After dinner at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville

grove park

View during our golf day at the Grove Park Inn

ben taylor1

Ben Taylor!

night of lights

Family and Robert before NOL

Dad, Madison, Mom at Night of Lights 2012!

Dad, Madison, Mom at Night of Lights 2012!

One of the most exciting parts of the month was that my roommate, Lauren, and her boyfriend (now fiance), Brandon got engaged! L&B have been together since college at Penn State and both ended up in Atlanta. Nittany Lion Sweethearts. 🙂  Brandon took Lauren to Penn State for a football game and proposed to her in front of the school sign as they drove into the city.  She was completely surprised, and she of course said YES!

Lauren asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding a couple of weeks and I’m honored that I’ve been asked to take part in their special day.  I’m so lucky that God placed Lauren, and incidentally Brandon, in my life.  They’re amazing people and I know that their life together is going to be filled with fun, laughs and lots of love.  Since their wedding won’t take place until Spring 2014, our apartment will be filled with wedding magazines, wedding talk and wedding excitement until the big day. 🙂

Brandon proposing to my roommate, Lauren at Penn State!

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What’s been going on?

In the past few weeks, my journey as an almost 24-year-old has taken me to NYC, Hendersonville, Asheville, Atlanta,  Hiawassee, San Diego and finally back to Atlanta.

I went to NYC the weekend before Father’s Day for work and had some time to walk around the city after work. I saw some cool sites, did a little bit of shopping and came to the realization that I’m not sure that I could live in the Big Apple. I like to have my car, an affordable living space and my family close by. That’s not saying that I’ll never live there. Who knows? 🙂  On my flight back, I traded my seat with a man so that he could sit with his family, and, in turn, he gave me his business class ticket. I was treated like a queen, feed shrimp and chicken, sat in a reclined chair that massaged my back and had a great conversation with my seatmate.  I felt like a pampered brat, and I loved every second of it.  I really need to work on my Delta Medallion status so that I can fly business class for all of my trips.

Times Square in NYC

For Father’s Day, my parents spent the weekend in a condo on a beautiful golf course in Hendersonville. It was perfect because I was able to travel to one place to see my family and Robert at the same time.  We met for drinks on Friday in Hendersonville, I played golf with Robert on Saturday and we met my family for dinner and drinks on Saturday night in Asheville. It was such a nice weekend in the mountains and I hated leaving my family and Robert.

Two weekends ago, Robert invited me up to the lake that his family frequents throughout the summer, Lake Chatuge.  It’s a gorgeous lake surrounded by North Georgia/North Carolina mountains in Hiawassee, Georgia.  I took a flex day on Friday and met Robert at the lake since it was a ½ way meeting point for us both.  Robbie pulled up in his new sleek new Jeep and I immediately asked if I could have his car… then I remembered that it’s a manual. At some point, I’ll learn how to drive a stick shift and feel comfortable enough to drive it down Peachtree. 🙂

On Lake Chatuge

We went to the marina on Friday night and ate/drank at the Tiki bar (not to be confused with the Lake Keowee Tiki Hut), listened to a country music from an “up-and-coming star” and met a couple of the locals. One local brought his dog, Kona, to the bar and showed Robert and me all of the dog’s tricks.  Kona was our friend for the whole night and the rest of the weekend. I accidentally fed him a whole chicken wing when his owner wasn’t looking, but I think he was alright. Whoops.  On Saturday, we took the boat out, Robert showed me around the lake, and we lounged in the cool, mountain water under the blazing sun. We got ready and took the boat back to the Tiki for dinner where we listened to the country music star and played with Kona again.  On Sunday, Robert took me for a boat ride and then I packed up my stuff and headed back to ATL to catch a flight to San Diego.

Robert and Kona

My flight to San Diego was easy-breezy, and I arrived at my hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter around 7 p.m. PST. Since it was beautiful out, I decided to go for a run along the bay. It was one of the most peaceful, relaxing runs that I think I’ve ever experienced.  The weather was a cool 75 degrees and it didn’t take me long to get in the zone. I was in meetings all day Monday and went to dinner on Monday night with my co-workers. We grabbed sushi, and I stepped out of my box and tried a few new dishes…which I loved! I fell in love with everything about San Diego (weather, shopping, dining, people,etc.) in my short 36-hour trip.  I hope that I’ll get to visit again soon.

View from my run in San Diego

Last weekend was a total ATL weekend. A bunch of us met up at my friend Maggie’s gorgeous 14th story apartment in midtown and then headed to Ri Ra.  I’d never been to Ri Ra, and it was so much fun! On Saturday, Robert and I went to the pool with our friends Danielle and Jessica and then went on a date night in Decatur. We weren’t too thrilled with Decatur.  It’s not that it was bad, but I was comparing it to Virginia Highlands (my obsession) and it just didn’t have the same feel, the same cute shops or the same kind of hipster-esque people.  We ate at a cute, cute, cute restaurant called No. 246 and I felt as though I was Emily Schuman from Cupcakes and Cashmere (partly because I was wearing flowy maxi dress and partly because the restaurant was so quaint and simple).  We loved our waiter and went home with smiles on our faces.

For the Fourth of July holiday, we tried our best (kind of) to go to the Braves game, but it started DOWNPOURING 15 minutes into our tailgate sesh. So, instead, we skirted on back to Buckhead and ended up at Pool Hall.  Is this scenario surprising anyone? Yeah, I didn’t think so. At Pool Hall, we danced, pretended to be DJ’s and did the wobble.  On the 4th, I spent the day with Laurs, Branny and Josh. We swam all day, ate Fat Matt’s BBQ for dinner and watched the Lenox fireworks while shouting out the shapes that each explosion made: “STAR!”, “SHAMROCK!”, “SMILEYFACE!”.

Out the night before the 4th

These past few weeks have been a blur with travel and activities, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I was going to apologize for rambling on about my past few weeks in such a long blog post, but I realized… this is my platform, right?

So sorry, I’m not sorry.

The Pretty Song

When Merrick and I were little (four and six) and living in Massachusetts, my dad would lift weights in our basement after work. While he was working out, Merr and I would play and dance around the basement to any music that my dad blasted through the stereo.  We really loved one song by Phil Collins, “Everyday”, which we dubbed “The Pretty Song.”  I’m not exactly sure how many times we asked my dad to play “The Pretty Song” while he was working out, but knowing our persistent attitudes, I’m guessing it was a lot.

When I was in college, my dad called me one day on my way home from class and told me that he heard “The Pretty Song” on the radio.  He asked if I remembered the song and unfortunately, I couldn’t remember it exactly. But, when I arrived home, I immediately looked it up on iTunes and the melody and words became all too familiar again.

The song isn’t one that’s too happy, but one line in particular reminds me of my dad:

Do you ever wonder why, why I love everything about you?

I love the way that my dad gives advice. I go to my dad with major issues (or issues that seem major to me).  He’s always the first that I call about any tough decisions.  He’s the first that I call about anything relating to work, money or cars.  And he’s the first one that I want to call when I reach any big accomplishments in my life.

I love the way that my dad is involved in my life and my sister’s life. My dad was always at our soccer games silently cheering on the sidelines, and that strong, quiet encouragement has continued throughout our lives.  Whether it’s encouragement to do well in school, kick butt in sports or move to a new city, my dad’s been there along with my mom to help along the way.

I love the way that my dad treats my mom.  Because he treats my mom like a queen, my dad’s set the bar really high for any man who’s come into my sister’s life and my life.  My dad would rather spend his Monday nights watching The Bachelorette with my mom than watch ESPN. My dad would rather golf with my mom on a Saturday than play golf with men.  And my dad takes my mom’s side on everything, no matter what.

Like The Pretty Song says, I love every thing about my dad. He is the kindest, smartest, most level-headed and loving man that I’ve ever known.  A lot of people tell me that I act a lot like my dad. I take that as a compliment and feel lucky that I’ve been given 23 years with the best dad in the world.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. Thank you for everything.  I love you with all my heart. 🙂

My dad and me!

Travel Tales: Hendo and San Diego

Hendo…

Two weeks ago, Robert’s family went to Water Island, so he had to stay home in Hendersonville to take care of his family’s dogs. I trucked on up to Hendo after work on Friday and we ate Japanese take-out and lounged since we both had long weeks at work. On Saturday, Robert planned a hike for us in the Pisgah National Forest called the Daniel Ridge Loop Trail.   It was a loop, but we started on the side of the trail that took us directly up hill for most of the hike (by chose, I mean we blindly took the trail to the right).  We saw a gorgeous waterfall and met some mountain bikers on our walk.  The weather was perfect, but my favorite parts of the hike were our conversations.  While Robert and I were walking in the woods, there were no distractions and nothing in particular to steer our conversations, so the communication flew very freely about a million different topics.

Daniel Ridge Falls

On Sunday, I helped Robert pick out colors for the exterior of his house (which was surprisingly fun).  We picked out a dark grey for his front porch poles, light grey for the siding, a dark cream for the lining and RED for the front door!  I helped him paint the poles on his front porch while we blared country music and laughed at our lack of perfection. I headed out around 4 to catch my flight from Asheville to San Diego…

Robert painting away…

San Diego…

I left Asheville on Sunday afternoon, had a connecting flight in ATL and then took off to Cali on Sunday evening. I spent a total of 30 hours in the city of San Diego, but it was definitely worth it. I staffed a couple of media briefings, worked from my hotel room for most of the day, and then explored the city that night. I found the city to be very clean and I enjoyed walking around the shops in the Gaslamp Quarter.  I returned back into Asheville on Tuesday, grabbed dinner with Robbie and headed back to the A.

Cool art in San Diego


Pink Napkin Hats

The past few weeks have been crazy busy with travel (north), travel (west) and more travel (north).  Fair warning that these next couple of posts are a little out of date and may be lengthy, but better late than never, right?

Memorial Day Weekend:

On the Thursday before MDW, Robert and I flew up to Burlington, VT (aka Asheville of the north) for my cousin Chris’s wedding to his beautiful girlfriend, Molly.  The wedding was actually in a town called Vergennes, but we’re lucky that the closest airport was in the Burl because there’s no way I would wanted to miss visiting that town. We bombed around Burlington that Thursday night, drank wine on a dock on Lake Champlain and watched the sunset. When I hit it rich, I’m moving to Burl (but only for the summer months).

Restaurant on Lake Champlain in Burlington

Beautiful sunset on Lake Champlain

Robert and me on the dock

On Friday, my mom and dad joined us as we explored the town of Burlington, shopped and met up with my cousin Lindsay and her boyfriend, Brendan from D.C.  In the late afternoon, we decided to head to the town of the actual wedding, Vergennes, VT to settle in before the big, family cocktail party. The location of the wedding was at a resort called the Basin Harbor Club. It was an absolutely gorgeous resort on Lake Champlain with mini-cottages, tennis courts, a huge clubhouse and a golf course. It was the perfect place to bring a group of people for such a nice occasion.  We immediately made friends with one of the new employees, Jeff, and recruited him as our golf cart chauffeur. He took us to our cottage and returned an hour later to take us to the cocktail party at the Red Mill Restaurant.

Cottage similar to the one in which my family stayed.

Beautiful Lake Champlain in the back.

The party was a gathering of all family and close friends of Chris and Molly. It was awesome to see my extended family (which I hadn’t seen in 2 years) and catch up on major life events.  This was the first time that I had ever taken a boyfriend to any sort of extended family event, so I was excited and anxious to introduce Robert to my aunts, uncles and cousins. He fit right in and was taking Irish Car Bombs with the groomsmen by the end of the night…

My cousin, Lindsay and me at the cocktail party.

On early Saturday (and I remember this because 50,000 lights were turned on and there was fighting about beds), my sister and Sam joined us at the Harbor Basin Club.  Once we were all up-and-at-em, we grabbed a quick breakfast and Robert and I played tennis on the courts across from my family’s cottage. After I gave Robert a quick beating, we all put on our suits and headed down to swimFREEZE at Lake Champlain. The water was colder then at Sliding Rock, but it was refreshing. We jumped on the floating trampoline, paddle-boarded, kayaked and rode in foot-paddled boats.  My entire family was out on the water until it was time to get ready for the big wedding.

Paddle boating

Paddle boarding

Chris and Molly’s wedding started at 4 p.m. (so Jeff picked us up at 3:40) and took place on a floating dock on Lake Champlain overlooking the water and the mountainous background.  They recited their own vows and my cousin (a tough guy) choked up during his vows. Molly looked so pretty and the whole wedding party was nicely put together in pinks and greens. Immediately following the wedding was a cocktail hour and then a sit-down dinner.  The reception consisted of: heart-felt speeches from the maid-of-honor and best man, napkin hats (a Fisher tradition),screaming  singing “Don’t Stop Believin”” with the band, tons of dancing and laughing to the point of tears.

Molly and Chris

The gorgeous ceremony!

Napkin hats at the reception Robbie was loving it. Ha!

Probably my favorite picture from the whole wedding.

Wasn’t joking when I said I sang/screamed with the band…

We headed back south on Sunday and I was really sad leaving my family and Vermont.  I can’t wait for the next Fisher wedding!

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.

 

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