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!

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

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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

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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!

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