The Change Up.

I’m not really good with big changes. I’m a creature of habit and like to get into routines. My pattern tendencies show through in my job, my health, the way I communicate and my friendships. So when something within one of those realms varies, it takes me a minute to accept and adapt to the change.

Most recently, I’ve been dealing with the change of a roommate and close friend moving away and physically (but not emotionally) out of my life. Margo headed to the coast late last week to start a new chapter, at a new job in Charleston. To top it off, she’s moving about 5 hours closer to her boyfriend! I’m super excited for her opportunity, and I know she’ll love being so close to the beautiful Charleston beaches.

Margs told us about her wish to move to Charleston a few months back. It’s been fun watching the progression of her interest move from consideration, to job searching, to interviewing and securing the new gig.  She quickly found a roommate and a brand-spankin-new apartment in Mt. Pleasant. She’s ready to rock.

The reason it’s difficult for me to embrace this change and say good-bye to Margo (not that I actually need a reason, though :-)) is that I associate Atlanta with Margo and Lauren. We all moved down here at the same time, knowing very few people, and have fought our way to kick-ass in our jobs and have fun while exploring a new city. “The Trifecta,” as some of our ATL friends lovingly refer to us, acclimated to life after college by prancing around the bars in Buckhead, dominating co-ed kickball, taking part in every festival imaginable and growing in ways that were unimaginable.

So, after a few weeks of farewell dinners and happy hours, last Thursday was go-time. I got upset before work while telling Margs good-bye. And it was super weird seeing our empty apartment after her mom helped Margo move her furniture out.  But, the good thing is that Margs and I have created a friendship that will last over the miles, and I’ll be in Charleston quite a bit this summer. I’m excited to see hear about her adventures in Chucktown!

At Margo's farewell happy hour!

At Margo’s farewell happy hour!

Happy Maddy

I woke up with a huge smile on my face today. Why? Because I’m completely happy. Plain and simple. I’m excited and over the moon about everything that’s going on in my life right now. A few things I’ve been focused on over the past few weeks:

Family– Over the past month, I’ve seen my family quite a bit. My mom and sister came to Atlanta in late March to wedding dress shop and… dun dun dun… we found the dress! It’s absolutely gorgeous and I love, love, love it.

A couple of weeks ago, my family met up in Charleston for a long weekend of celebrating my Aunt Marg’s 60th birthday, running the Charleston Cooper River Bridge Run, watching Venus and Serena face-off at the Family Circle Cup and shopping on King Street. The laughs, stories and love that we shared made it a perfect weekend.

Last weekend, I went home to Greenville, SC to meet our day-of wedding planner and celebrate Kim’s 50th birthday with a surprise party.  First: the wedding planner. Love her. We met with her at a Starbucks in DT Greenville and chatted about everything wedding-wise for about 2 hours. She gave us opinions on bands, rehearsal dinner spots, caterers and day-of ideas. My mom, sister and I have similar opinions and it was nice to have a third party affirm most of our thoughts.

Later that night, we headed over to Nancy’s house for Kim’s surprise party. My mom and her friends had planned the big she-bang for about 4 months and it paid off. The party, people and personalized pillows were perfect. 🙂  My mom read a beautiful poem honoring Kim and she had the whole party laughing and smiling throughout the entire reading. Robert leaned over to me while my mom was presenting the poem and said, “Now I know where you got your writing skills.”

Work: I’m loving it. I’ve been conducting intern interviews over the past few weeks and explaining what it means to be a Porter  Novelli employee. Throughout each meeting with potential candidates, I’m realizing more and more how much I love PN. This agency compares to none. It truly is awesome. I come into work every day looking forward to working with my team. I’m given the chance to be creative, learn, grow, and have fun in a collaborative environment with positive, smart people. I have a wonderful coach on my team who wants and encourages me to grow. I can’t say enough nice things about this place.  Ok. Enough of drinking the PN Kool-Aid… moving on….

Robert– [Gush warning] In the beginning of my post, I said that I wake up with a smile on my face. A lot of that has to do with the fact that in less than 10 short months, I’m going to marry the most amazing man thatI’ve ever met (besides my dad). And the sparkly diamond on my finger reminds me of that every day.  Even though we’re technically in a long distance relationship still, Robert and I talk about 15 times a day via phone calls, texts and even sometimes emails.  Each conversation and visit makes me fall more in love with him. He is sincerely interested in my day, my feelings, my to-do list, my work stories, my workout progress, my family, and the list goes on and on. And I’m really interested in everything in his life. Robert is a rare gem, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us.  🙂 

All in all, I’m very fortunate and thankful for everything that’s been going in my life. I try not to take things for granted because, as we unfortunately saw earlier this week in Boston, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.   

Life lately.

Last weekend, I went home to Greenville to wedding dress shop with my mom and sister. After three stores and about twenty dresses, we sill didn’t find “the dress.” Even though the final dress decision wasn’t made, we had a great time breaking down the dresses and picking out what we liked/disliked about each one. I tried on dresses of every size, shape and material, so now I have a better understanding of what I want The One to look like. The best part about dress shopping was spending the whole day with my mom and sister laughing and chatting and sharing opinions.

The rest of last weekend was filled with listening to bands online, looking at photographers’ websites and vegging out with my family and Robert.

This week, I went to San Francisco for work and fell in love with the city.

I’m currently in Hendersonville helping Robert insert a sump pump into his basement. By help, I mean I’m sitting in the sun, listening to country music, watching my handy man saw and break up concrete, and blogging.

Here are pics detailing my life lately according to my iPhone:













Meeting Pilar.

This past weekend, Robert came into town, and we went to see an improve show at Dad’s Garage in Inman Park. Margo came along and we had a great time belly laughing at the actors and munching Mexican food afterwards. Inman Park is a really cool area with quirky residents and unique food. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the high rises and large chain restaurants of Buckhead.

Spectacular Saturday- I’m running a half marathon (along with Robert, Merr, Sam, Margo and Parks) in Myrtle Beach in a couple of weeks and have yet to do some seriously long runs. That all changed on Saturday. Robert and I ran nine miles through the busy streets of Buckhead. I was very surprised at how good I felt after the run, and I’m now positive that we’re going to kick this 13.1 miles straight in the teeth.

When we got about a half of a mile away from my apartment, we noticed an older woman (in her 80’s) walking with groceries and struggling to hold them up.  She was stopping every five steps or so. Robert and I stopped and offered to help carry her goods back to her apartment and she happily accepted.  It turns out, this woman, Pilar, is from Spain and moved to Ohio to be closer to her family.  As her family grew and moved due to new adventures in life, she ended up in Atlanta (without a car).  She explained that while her family does live close, they have their own families and priorities to take care of, so she walks to the grocery store when she needs food.  She got emotional as we rounded the corner to her house because she was so thankful that we had stopped to help. I gave her my phone number and let her know that I’d be happy to pick her up to take her to the grocery store anytime that she wanted. She even invited us to come by her house to keep her company when we’re in town.

I got emotional after we left Pilar because her mannerisms and stories reminded me a lot of my Nana. I know there was a reason that God introduced us to Pilar on Saturday after a beautiful run- it wrapped up our afternoon perfectly.

Robert and I grabbed dinner at Two Urban Licks on Saturday night to celebrate our year and a half anniversary. It was so nice sitting down and chatting about our time together and what the future may hold.

Super Bowl Sunday- On Sunday, I dragged Robert to IKEA. 🙂 He loved it! I got a few odd purchases and he pointed out items that he really liked. When we got back to my apartment, Robert- my handyman- hung my mirror (after 2.5 years of it sitting on the ground), hung up a picture and built a table that fit perfectly in the corner for all of my “getting ready” essentials (makeup, hair dryer, curlers, etc.).  I’m so lucky to have a man who’s ready to roll up his sleeves and build stuff with/for me.

We had about 10 people at our house to watch the Big Game. I made chicken wings and I guess they were a hit. I didn’t eat them. I don’t like eating meat after I’ve seen it raw and cooked it myself- weird, I know.  It was fun to host a party with friends- new and old- and form more bonded relationships over a football game that I really cared less about.

We were busy bees this weekend.  I’m usually not one to complain about being tired, but this Monday, I’ve been exhausted. I’m lucky that the Bachelor is on because it gives me an excuse to veg out and go to sleep early.


January was packed with two trips to Boise for work, an unplanned single ski trip while out West, two trips to Hendersonville to see Robert, watching the Super Bowl playoffs at Martha’s, an NYC visitor, a day off for the remembrance of Martin Luther King, a fun night out in Buckhead and finally measuring myself for bridesmaid dresses.

The pictures below briefly explain most of my January:

Downtown Asheville with Brit

Downtown Asheville with Brit

Bench outside of a cute restaurant in Hendo.

Bench outside of a cute restaurant in Hendo.

Buckhead night out

Buckhead night out

The girls out in Buckhead

The girls out in Buckhead

The temperature in Minneapolis on my way home from Boise... lovely.

The temperature in Minneapolis on my way home from Boise… lovely.

Solo skiing at Bogus Basin while out in Boise.

Solo skiing at Bogus Basin while out in Boise.

Boise Stampede game for work

Boise Stampede game for work

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!

YES!Atlanta 2nd Annual Night of Lights

On my own time, I serve as the PR chair on the board for YES!Atlanta. YES! (Youth Experiencing Success) works to increase graduation rates among Atlanta’s at-risk youth by helping program participants see the possibility of a better life and providing a foundation for personal success.  Its programming also addresses key issues facing youth such as lack of motivation in school, hopelessness about the future, and a distrust of adults.

On October 20, 2012, YES!Atlanta is hosting its second annual Night of Lights fundraising event. The event will celebrate YES!Atlanta’s history and accomplishments, while also honoring several individuals for their service to the city of Atlanta and commitment to youth development.

The 2012 “Night of Lights” ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 in Phipps Tower. Overlooking the city’s skyline, the event will include cocktails (open bar) and catering from Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse and Prime Wine and Spirits. The event will feature an extensive silent auction, fun-filled games, and live music from local acts. Tickets are $100, tables (of 10) are $1,000 and all proceeds support YES!Atlanta’s programming.

We’re expecting 300 attendees from all over the Atlanta area including representatives from large Atlanta corporations. My mom, dad and Robert as well as multiple friends are attending this year. After attending last year’s event, I can confidently say that you won’t want to miss this awesome event. It’s a great way for everyone to come together to help the youth of Atlanta.

Take a look at a few reasons why you should attend this year’s YES!Atlanta Night of Lights. I personally think it’s because of THE VIEW! 🙂

That’s Tiger Ball!

A couple of weekends ago, my family, Robert, Sam and I went to the East Lake Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta. On Saturday, we hung out on the #1, #15 and #18 fairways and watched all of the golfers come through while waving at Rory, Rickie, Phil and of course, Tiger.  Once the day was finished, we headed to Hudson Grill to celebrate Merrick’s birthday and watch my little baby Clemson Tigers lose.

Sunday, Robert and I went back to the course for the championship round and stayed til the very end. We walked around to multiple holes and somehow saw Phil Mickelson about 6 times. I think he’s my new favorite golfer behind Webb Simpson (because I love his wife) and Adam Scott (for obvious reasons).  Below is our weekend in pictures.

In front of the Tour Championship on Saturday with Robert

Family minus Dad!

The Rickie Fowler Fan Club

Following Phil Mickelson on the course

Merr’s Birthday Cake (She and my mom got a little hungry on the way to the tournament and ate a piece.)

The Tour Championship on Sunday for Robert’s Birthday

Our perfect seats on the 18th green where we watched Brandt Snedeker take home the trophy (and $11.4 million!)

Hippy Leeber Dee

Behind the major holidays (Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.), I think that Labor Day weekend is one my favorite times of the year.  Labor Day weekend marks the start of college football, the beginning of fall and another year that’s been added to my roommate Lauren’s life. 🙂

This past Labor Day weekend did not disappoint.  Clemson played Auburn at the Georgia Dome in ATL, so many of my friends from school came in town for a reunion! I think the weekend is best described in pictures:

Most of the girls at the Buckhead Pub Crawl

Drew won the dance contest, which surprised no one. King Tut style.

We tailgated at the Georgia Dome. Love that orange.

Margy (my roommate from USC) came!

Sister, sister.

Labor Day weekend also happened to be Dragon Con weekend in ATL. We had the privilege of meeting Sasquatch himself.

The week after Labor Day was pretty busy for me.  Lauren turned the big 2-4 and we celebrated with the traditional roommate dinner at Maggiano’s. YUM. I also started on a new soccer team full of new faces.  The team is really talented and I think that I’m going to like playing with them.

Beautiful Birthday Girl!

And one of the most exciting things about last week: I’m going to be a bridesmaid in Kristin’s wedding! Kristin was my college roommate at Clemson for 3 years and she’s marrying her boyfriend of 6 years!  Most of my favorite memories of parties, football games, spring breaks and random trips include Kristin.  I’m so excited and honored that she’s invited me to stand next to her on her big day.  I received a card on late Tuesday afternoon with a picture of a wine bottle that asked, “Madison, help me tie the knot, will you be my bridesmaid?”  I immediately called Kristin after work and screamed into the phone, “OF COURSE!!”  I can’t wait for the wedding festivities to begin. I’ll be documenting them all right here. 🙂

Such a cute idea.

Jamming in July

It’s seems as though these posts are coming further and further apart… Here are the big events that went down in July and early August…

La Quinceanara

Robert works (and travels) with a lot of men from Mexico and has become good friends with them.  Earlier this year, he was asked to be a godfather of one of his worker’s daughter. Guess what that means? On July 7, Robert, Robert’s dad and I attended a Mexican girl’s 15-year-old birthday party, aka a Quinceanara.

It was something that I’ve never experienced before and I’m so glad that we were a part of it.  One of my favorite parts was the choreographed dance to which both the Quince, Vanessa, and her court of men danced.  Up until this song, we’d only heard upbeat, Spanish country music from the DJ in the corner.  However, once the English song started up, I knew that I recognized the tune… “Turn Around” by Bonnie Tyler. If you want to see a video of the choreographed dance (not the actual one that I witnessed), check this out.

After the dance, we saw the celebration of Vanessa, and watched the ceremony as she was changed from a little girl (wearing flats, minimal make-up and a big gown) into a young woman (she was crowned with a tiara and her flat shoes were changed to high heels).

Then, the DJ announced (in Spanish) that every man who helped contribute to the Quinceanera would be asked to dance with Vanessa and his date would dance with one of the men on her court.  We watched about 45 minutes of other men dance with Vanessa before we heard the final name called…. “JUNIOR WILSON!” (Robert’s dad is also named Robert, so he’s technically a junior.)  Robert looked at me and said “Lessgo.”  We hopped on up to the middle of the dance floor and boogied for a couple of minutes before the song ended.

We headed out after the big dance. I hope that we are invited to more Quinceanaras in the future. 🙂

Hilton Head:

For the past 17 years, my family has taken a week-long vacation in Hilton Head, SC.  Since I graduated from Clemson and started working, I hadn’t had the chance to take off a full week to join them. This year, that all changed.  I was able to spend a full week with my family in beautiful Sea Pines.  We played tennis every morning, went to the beach every day, shopped, ate at our favorite restaurants and listened to Dave Kimmerly andGregg Russell.  I love spending time with my family, and especially in HHI.  We have so many memories, and it’s a place that I can’t wait to take my family when the time comes.

Merr and Me in Hilton Head

My mom and dad in Harbor Town

Atlanta Open Tennis Finals:

On our way back from Hilton Head, we came past Atlantic Station and were reminded that the Atlanta Open was in town.  We decided to look for tickets on Sunday morning and found fairly cheap tickets for the finals! Needless to say we spent our Sunday afternoon watching tennis (mostly just AndyRoddick) and loving every minute of sitting in the blazing sun drinking cool brewskis.

Atlanta Open Tennis Finals Tickets

Right next to the finals court after Roddick won!

My Birthday!:

This year is was my Star Birthday! I turned 24 on July 24. I got the chance to celebrate with all of the people that are most important to me.  I went to dinner with my family at the beach, celebrated with Robert in Hilton Head and celebrated with my roomies at Maggiano’s on my actual birth day.  I am excited to see what 24 has in store for me. Since it’s my star birthday I have a feeling it’s going to be a big year. Bring it on.

After my birthday dinner with Roberto

Atlanta Weekend:

Lauren and Brandon had friends (Sam and Erin) from Penn State in town the weekend after my birthday. People who have visitors to their hometown should take hosting notes from Lauren.  She knows exactly how to show people around ATL. We took Sam and Erin out in Buckhead on  Friday night and Virginia Highlands on Saturday. Lauren took them to see the Atlanta touristy sites on Saturday and Sunday before they left. I love it when my roommates (and Brandon) have friends come visit because I get to meet and learn a bit more about their pasts.

The group out with Sam and Erin!

Garden City:

We took our second annual trip to Hally Ho (Margo’s beach house in Garden City) over the first weekend in August. It was a blast. Her house sleeps around 15 people and I’m pretty sure we filled up all of those sleeping spots (plus maybe more?) during our stay. The coolest part was that people from all over the southeast (Atlanta, Columbia, Spartanburg, Charleston, Hendersonville and… Hartsville) came and celebrated all weekend long.

The weekend was filled with friends, beach time, swimming, games, dancing-dancing-dancing, singing (screaming) at the top of our lungs with bands, Hot Fish clubbing, dinner on the marsh walk, a boat ride (Capt. Madison drove), seeing my friends from Clemson and meeting some of Margo’s friends from USC.

The Brampire (Branny) also bought some swim caps for us to “do the swim cap trick”. Don’t know what the swim cap trick is? Watch here. We only fit one person in the swim cap at a time, but it was way better than the people in that video. At one point, my entire body was inside the cap as Robbie carried me around the ocean.

I’m so thankful that Margo let all of us gather at her beach house. Good thing these trips are a year apart so that we always forget the actual distance (7 hours) from ATL to Garden City when Margo says it “takes about 5 hours.”   I already can’t wait until next year’s trip. 🙂

Before our marsh walk dinner

Some of the Hally Ho girls