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

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Met John Forte at the Ben Taylor Concert

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My beautiful roommates at the YES!Atlanta Night of Lights

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After dinner at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville

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View during our golf day at the Grove Park Inn

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Ben Taylor!

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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.

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!

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

One Fish, Two Fish, REDFISH, 80-pound Fish

Last Wednesday I boot-scooted out of work and took MARTA to the airport to fly to Naples, Florida. I usually meet interesting people in the airport/on airplanes, but this time, the treasure I met was on MARTA. I met a man from Cincinnati at the Buckhead MARTA station wearing camo shorts, a Braves jersey and reef flip-flops with removable flasks in the cushioning of the shoes. He told me his life story on the 40-minute ride and explained that he was going to drink for 4 hours before getting on his plane home to see his family. Sweet. Odd way to start my trip, but he’s the only interesting character that I met en route to see my boy.

After flying into Orlando, Robert picked me up and we drove 1.5 hours to his grandmother’s house to break up our 3-hour drive down to Naples.  Although they don’t look related, after talking with his grandmother, I can definitely see their similarities in the way that they communicate and their sense of humor. J   We grabbed breakfast the next morning and headed here to hop on his cousin, Jason’s boat.

Lovers Key in Naples!

Jason is a captain of a boat and took the time off to take mountain boy and me on a private fishing trip on Thursday. I caught a Red Fish (which isn’t actually red) and a Snook (which I think should have an attached “i” at the end of its name).  Robert caught Jack. No, literally, he caught a fish that was called a Jack.

My Snook(i) Fish

Since the fish weren’t biting too much, Jason took us to an island named Mound Key in Estero Bay.  It’s a small island that was created by Native Americans out of seashells, fish bones and pottery to serve as a burial ground for the Calusa Indians.  We hiked the trail up to the top of the island and immediately heard bleating from the other side. You should have seen our faces when Jason told us that we weren’t crazy and that yes, in fact, there were 30+ goats hanging out on the opposite side of the island. Goats on an island-in the middle of the ocean- is totally random and yet really, really cool. After taking a billion pics, we headed back to Jason’s gorgeous townhouse, met his wife and cooked out with Robert’s aunt and uncle, his girl cousin and her 6-year-old son. It was a beautiful night full of soccer-ball kicking, corn-hole throwing and rib-eating.

We joined Jason and Robert’s uncle on the boat at Lover’s Key on Friday and headed about 2-3 miles offshore to go Tarpon fishing. I got my tan on while Robert caught an 80-ish pound Tarpon and his uncle caught a 100-ish pound Tarpon. We got off of the water pretty late, so Robert and Jason cooked steaks while this sun-bathing princess took a cat nap in preparation for a night of drinks and dancing.  Jason and his wife, Courtney, took us to a local Naples spot that they frequent regularly Jacks.  We met J&C’s friends, played shuffle board and danced to the 90’s-themed band.

Courtney, Robert, Me, Jason at Jack's

Unfortunately, it rained all day on Saturday, but it allowed us to grab lunch with Courtney and Jason and shop at a nearby set of stores. Jason and Courtney invited 12 of their friends and family over to their house for a cookout on Saturday night.  It was a great way to wrap up our perfect vacation.  I loved meeting Robert’s extended family- they were all so welcoming and fun!

Robert drove and I road back to ATL early Sunday morning and arrived mid-afternoon after a 10-hour drive.

New things that I learned about Robert on our trip:

  • He loves, loves, loves his family and feels very comfortable around them.
  • He is a beach boy and knows more than I thought about the ocean, fish and boats.
  • He has never played corn hole in his life. (WHAT?!)
  • He enjoys taking candid pictures with his camera which mostly result in his subjects standing in unattractive poses.
  • He has a lot of patience exemplified by reeling in a Tarpon (which took 20 minutes), playing soccer with his 6-year-old cousin, and driving 10 hours home while I slept, woke up to ask questions and change the music, slept, read magazine articles out loud and slept more.

Wedding Weekend in Columbia, S.C.

This past weekend, Robert and I headed to Columbia, South Carolina to attend my friend Jessie’s sister Geordie’s wedding. We stayed in a part of Columbia called The Vista and absolutely loved it! Almost everything that we needed (bars and the wedding reception) was within walking distance (minus the Publix where Robert bought socks that literally strangled his feet).

We didn’t get into town until late Friday night, and unfortunately missed the rehearsal dinner. Instead, we ran out to the Carolina Ale House to grab buffalo shrimp (YUM) and wings. By the time that we wrapped up dinner, Jessie was leaving the rehearsal dinner, so we all headed into Five Points. We ended up at a bar names Jake’s- a bar to which I’d never been. I ran into multiple people from Greenville and Clemson and caught up with one of my sister’s friends that I hadn’t seen in a while.

On Saturday, we ate brunch at a bar named Jillian’s. Upon arrival, we were asked if we were there for The Real World Season 28 auditions. After MUCH consideration (and realizing that I’m not much of a train wreck), I decided not to audition. We drank fun drinks to get us in the wedding mood and then laid out at the pool to catch some rays.

Flash forward to the wedding- Geordie looked absolutely gorgeous. The church was romantically decorated and her bridesmaids dresses were the perfect color pink. This being my first wedding taking Robert as a date, I wasn’t sure how he was going to take the fact that I always tear up when brides walk down the aisle. To my surprise, once Geordie started walking down the aisle, Robert pulled a napkin out of his pocket and handed it to me. 🙂

We were able to drive back to the hotel and walk to the reception after the ceremony. The reception was held on the 20th story of a beautiful building overlooking Columbia and included buffet-style dinner and an ice cream bar. Interesting things that happened at the reception:
– On the way up the elevator to the reception, I asked the pastor who he was attending on behalf of, to which he swiftly replied, “Umm I married them about 30 minutes ago.” (In my defense, the pastor was no longer wearing his pastor-esque outfit.)
– A girl fainted (twice) during Geordie’s dance with her dad.
– Geordie “iced” her new husband when he went to take off her garter (and her husband subsequently “iced” her back too).
– The DJ taught everyone how to do the thriller.
– Jessie’s mom’s cousin, Big Mo, ran out on the dance floor singing and dancing to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”.

All in all, we had a wonderful weekend and are so thankful that we were invited to help celebrate the Yandle’s wedding.

I’m on MARTA right now heading to the airport for a flight to Orlando. I’m meeting Robert for a mini-vacay in Naples. I’m so excited for sun, the beach, the boat and to play soccer-tennis for the next few days.

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