Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer. And this summer has been quite an eventful one. While the beginning of the season provided so much excitement — a roadtrip to Omaha, Team USA watch parties, a visit from my sister, our Walking Dead day and my best friend’s wedding — the end hasn’t been too shabby, either.
After Abby and Nathan’s wedding, I drove back up to Philadelphia, where I was able to spend time with my family and take a break after the hectic year it’s been. Life may be uncertain and full of adventure at the moment, but it’s full of love and laughter, so I can’t ask for much more. Here’s a look back at some of this month’s great memories.
When Abby Hill walked into NCAA.com two weeks after the rest of the intern class last August, her reputation already preceded her. She and I had held the same position at Team USA just one year apart and we somehow now found ourselves sharing a cubicle. Exactly one year later, she and I would have shared a lot more than a cubicle — and now I was sharing in my best friend’s wedding day.
I’d only been hearing about this wedding for a year and it became a thing of certainty in my very unstable future — I always knew where I was going to be on August 2nd.
I’ve seen many of my cousins get married, but for the first time, one of my friends would be walking down the aisle. I’d spent more time in the past year with Ab than with anyone else, and we all absolutely loved her fiancé, Nathan. She’d planned nearly the entire wedding from the 8th floor of our Techwood office, letting me share in every detail. In an exciting summer, there was nothing I was looking forward to more.
After three hours of side-splitting, screeching sing-alongs, Andrew and I made it to Ringgold, Georgia, for the ceremony. Not a seat in the church was open — so many people had come to see Abby and Nate tie the knot. We didn’t know many people, but Andrew’s comical commentary made the traditional ceremony even greater. In one of the most tender moments, Nathan choked up delivering his vows, and the look on the joy on their faces was palpable as they walked back up the aisle. But after a year together, my best friends knew me too well. Ab’s first question after the ceremony to Andrew — “How badly did Higgins cry?”
Afterward, we drove the quick half hour across the border into Tennessee for their reception. Ab and Nate had chosen Church on Main in Chattanooga. It was so quintessentially them, rustic and elegant. Everyone was so fun, so happy, so welcoming, and I really couldn’t have been happier to be a part of their special day. After dinner, dancing, and doughnuts, it was time to head back down to Atlanta with smiles permanently etched on our faces.
Congrats, #TeamNerswick. Love you both.
…well, I don’t love coffee. I don’t even like coffee. But you could say #TeamNerswick does.
Nathan’s competed in the US Coffee Championships, Abby’s taken coffee classes, and their new kitchen even features a “hot corner,” dedicated to…well, you guessed it, making coffee. And so, with the bourbon buried and their wedding a mere 14 days away (eeeek!), it was time to get cracking on the wedding present.
In March, my DIY addiction and I gave distressed wood a try when I made a sign with the iconic Friday Night Lights phrase — “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.” It was cheap, customizable, and unique. It’s quickly become one of my favorite pieces in my apartment.
Abby loved the sign and we decided I would make one for the Nerswicks’ new apartment. I found the perfect phrase for them — I love you more than coffee, but don’t make me prove it — and set to work.
I can’t wait for the Nerswicks to see the final product and to celebrate with them in just a few more days! Love you, Ab and Nate!
Atlanta’s been called the Hollywood of the South. But today, backwoods Georgia took center stage.
Truly, I shouldn’t be a fan of The Walking Dead. I don’t like blood, I don’t like gore, I don’t like action. But somehow, I fell in love with the dorky little drama about Georgians caught in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. And I’m not alone. The Walking Dead is the most watched drama in basic cable history and has a fan base as passionate as any.
After doing our research and lots of free time on our hands, Andrew and I decided to take the day trip down to Griffin, Georgia, to see the filming for the upcoming season. We found we were far from the only fans crowding the small-town streets, looking out for their favorite characters. First, Carol came out to film a few scenes in her iconic station wagon, which we surmised must be a flashback.
A bit later, we moved down the street and saw none other than Norman Reedus who plays the most eccentric survivor, Daryl — one of my favorite characters. Though the alley scene was covered with a white sheet to prevent us from seeing the action, Reedus was always waving to the fans lined up on the street and mingling with his admirers. The genuine love the cast has for the fans who come out to watch them is so mutual and defies every Hollywood stereotype. This isn’t your average television show, for sure.
We made friends with a couple who had brought their two young sons to scope out the action. They told us they had made a not-to-be-missed stop on the way in Senoia, Georgia, the setting for Woodbury, a too-good-to-be-true refuge from the post-apocalyptic world swarming with zombies, and most of the regular series filming on a private, secluded property.
So after a few hours in Griffin, we made the trek a few miles west to Senoia and started squealing, seeing that the one-street town was a dead-ringer for the fictional Woodbury — absolutely nothing had been altered for filming. Following their suggestion, we headed to the Woodbury Shoppe, which in its basement housed a free, open-to-the-public collection of authentic Walking Dead sets and memorabilia.
We drove back up to Atlanta with one stop to make along the way — Terminus. In the season finale, the cast made it to the place whose motto was “all who arrive, survive” and were promptly shoved into a rail car — cue cliffhanger. While standing on a road near Turner Field, it was incredible knowing this was the very place the new season would pick up from.
We didn’t think it could get much cooler until we wandered down the road and saw the “A” rail car — the very car the cast is currently trapped in. We were able to walk a few steps into Terminus and pointed out every major moment from the season finale — “That’s where they were shot at! That’s where Carl ran from! That’s where the room with the candles was! That’s the path they took!” It was another set completely untouched by movie magic. Even Andrew, normally reserved and near-impossible to excite, was undeniably wowed.
I may have only started watching TWD this winter, but Georgia brought one of our favorite shows to life today and October — and with it, the season five premiere — can’t come soon enough.
Abby, Andrew, Justin, and I met at Danielle’s, packed popsicles, trail mix, and picnic blankets and loaded up into the pickup truck. We headed toward Piedmont Park to sit around on the cool, clear night, watch the sunset, play on the playground, and enjoy each other’s company on our first free Friday night since August.
There truly couldn’t have been a more perfect ending to our NCAA.com year.