Catching Fireflies.

We celebrated Kristin’s last few weeks as a “single woman” in Savannah in late June. Her MOH and cousin, Shannon, booked a cute condo in downtown Savvy and we walked to The Bohemian for dinner and then Savannah Smiles for a night full of dancing, singing (screaming) and celebrating K Cox. It’s very rare that I hang out with all women (as most of the time, I’m with Robert), but it’s really nice to change it up a bit. We talked and laughed into the early hours of Saturday morning, reminiscing about our times at Clemson, recounting old spring break trips and discussing millions of wedding deets.

Girls at Savannah Smiles for KC's Bach!

Girls at Savannah Smiles for KC’s Bach!

I hopped up early Saturday morning and drove to Robert’s in Hendersonville to get ready for Cheen’s wedding.  Cheen lived three doors down from my family’s house on Bramblewood growing up. When I think of Cheen, I remember sleepovers, lemonade stands, her lab George, sledding down her driveway and visiting her Folly Beach house. She looked gorgeous walking down the aisle and it was fun reconnecting with her during the reception. We had a blast dancing at the reception. It’s pretty fun when you’re whole family is out on the dance floor tearing it up. At the end of the night my mom’s feet hurt her so badly that Robert carried her out of the Poinsett Club like a baby.  I’m pretty sure that when your fiancé carries your mom out of the reception at the end of the party, you can call that night a success. We ended up going out in downtown Greenville, met up with some old friends and even made a new, crazy one.

Family.

Family.

Compilation of the fun at Cheen's wedding

Compilation of the fun at Cheen’s wedding

On Sunday, Robert and I headed back to Hendo for some R&R. I was exhausted after more than 700 miles of driving around the southeast. Late that night, we sat on Robert’s front porch in the pitch black and watched (and caught) the millions of lightening bugs as the swarmed his yard. It was a perfect way to wind down a whirlwind weekend.

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.   

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.

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

Margy’s Birthday and Brookhaven Beer Fest

Brookhaven Beer Fest…

Last weekend, we celebrated my beautiful roommate Margo’s Birthday!  We had everyone over to our apartment complex on Friday night for a big cookout at our pool. Robert grilled hotdogs and hammies and we all caught up.  I hadn’t been back in Atlanta for a few weekends, so it was nice seeing everyone and hearing what had been going down in A-town.

On Saturday, we invited everyone over to our apartment for a pre-party for the Brookhaven Beer Fest (BBF) in celebration of Margo’s birthday.  This year, we dressed more sensibly based on last year’s unbearable heat (i.e. Lauren’s wedge melting as we flitted around the festival).  I donned a fedora for the absolute first time in my life, and I loved it!  After about an hour, we walked down the main street to the festival as Drew inevitably yelled/sang , “APPLE VALLEY ROAD, BOOTS WITH THE FUR.”

Roomies at BBF

While at the BBF, we tasted new beers and I ran into friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. (Digression: It’s really odd to me that I’ve been in Atlanta long enough to have friends that “I haven’t seen in a while.”) Robert convinced me to try Summer Shandy and I fell in love. Partly because it was so refreshing and tasted like lemonade and mostly because the word Shandy sounds a LOT like the word Shanny. 🙂  We danced to the DJ, tasted a ton of beer and beer icecream, and wobbled.  I ended up with a collection of koozies (seriously, Josh, please come take them home), Robert ended up with a case of some nasty beer, Grant ended up with a kickball and Lauren ended up with an XL t-shirt.   We wrapped up our night at our new favorite pub, Olde Blind Dog in Town Brookhaven.  I’d say we helped bring Margy’s 25th in with a bang!

The whole group at BBF

BBF

I just flew back from NYC where I experienced my first ever first class flight. I thought I was ready to take a break from all of the traveling, but after this plush ride, I think I’d like to do it again… More to come about Maddy’s Adventures in Business Class.

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 laughed.our.butts.off. 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!

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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