Category Archives: Getaways

A Look Back at 32

Tim and I in LiberiaTomorrow is my birthday and I plan to celebrate with some shopping, relaxing and a milkshake. Tim’s birthday was last month and we spent it at the Powerscourt Ritz Carleton outside of Dublin enjoying a five star meal at Gordan Ramsey but for my birthday Tim’s taking me to Cook-Out Burgers. Don’t worry– I’m not mad. It was my idea after I saw a sign on the side of their building that says they offer 40 milkshakes. I’m already a little nervous about having to choose just one flavor!

Anyway, when my birthday comes around I always like to take some time to reflect on the past 365 days. (Here’s last year’s for instance.) Here are some of the highlights of 32:

  • I enjoyed seeing my byline in more magazines than ever before including about half a dozen times in REDBOOK.
  • I opened the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2011 to see huge color photos of my friends and I along with a write-up about our Traveling Journal.
  • In early July I spent several days in Atlanta promoting authors at the International Christian Retail Show. I also got to visit CNN and see fellow Iowa State alum Jacqui Jeras.
  • On July 18 I found myself sitting on the set of The Today Show with my best friends talking about the Traveling Journal.
  • I spent the first two weeks of August in Liberia, Africa helping to drill wells in remote villages and share Christ with Muslims.
  • I spent the last two weeks of August enjoying time with visiting relatives from Northern Ireland. We had a fun trip to Atlanta where we bumped into Whitney Eve Port from The City.
  • My sister came to visit and we had an amazing time which included a trip to the Old Edward’s Spa– amazing!
  • I helped plan and organize the Reality Check event, benefiting Water of Life. We raised a couple of thousand dollars to help drill wells in Third World countries.
  • We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Tim’s parents and got to see some of my friends.
  • For Christmas we headed to Seattle for an extended visit. Tim and I went skiing, shopping and site seeing.
  • In January we found out we were expecting!
  • Tim and I did several weekend getaways for a magazine including a resort in the Georgia mountains, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, and the Opryland in Nashville. All of them were so fun and full of special memories. We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Dave Ramsey’s headquarters which was a highlight.
  • In April we went to Northern Ireland for a 10 day trip that included amazing sites and some of the best food we’ve ever had. Plus we got to spend time with our family.
  • We found out that our baby is a boy and we named him Sam!

When I see it all written out like that it’s hard to believe that I will ever have a year quite as unique and memorable,

group with KL and Hoda

With Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show

but then again, I am about to have my first child so that will be full of its own adventures and memories.

The older I get the more I realize that every year is special in its own way. There really doesn’t have to be a time designated as “the best years of your life” because each year has the potential to hold something remarkable. You just have to be willing to welcome new opportunities and often that means spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone. So here’s to 33– I’ll be toasting it with a milkshake!

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A Delayed Year in Review

I know we’re already two weeks into 2010 but I never properly recounted what an amazing year 2009 was. I like to take a little time to think about the highlights of the year before. And often when I do I’m amazed that I ever have days where I think I have the most boring life ever… and yes I do have those days.

In January I flew out to California to shop for bridesmaid dresses with my best friend Tonya. My other girlfriends Dawn and Melly flew out, too and we had a blast. Then Tonya drove up to another part of California with me to do some research for a book I was writing… a project that was later unfortunately put on hold indefinitely.

The Girls with Tonya's Man Ryan

In February we launched GeorgeBevShea.com, welcoming the world to send birthday wishes to 100-year-old George Beverly Shea in preparation of the launch of his new book. We even got country star Josh Turner to record a greeting. Tim flew out to Utah with some buddies for a snowboarding trip. I stayed home and made dorky t-shirts for us to wear on Valentine’s Day. So romantic!

Nothing Sexier Than a Man Vacuuming

In March I watched the world’s biggest jerk-face dump his fiance on live TV and ended up getting more than 3000 hits on this little blog in two hours because of a post I wrote about Jason Mesnick. Also in March I was able to see one of my favorite storytellers, Garrison Keillor, live at the Peace Center in Greenville. My favorite moment of the evening was listening to him recite Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Annabel Lee. I also experienced one of the worst hair disasters of my life (except for that perm in 1988) and was a guest on a local radio program where I talked about saving money.

In April I attended some TEA Party rallies, voicing my opinion about the government bail-outs and increased tax burdens. The 25/30 celebration was launched in Florida with my husband’s 25th birthday. We spent a day at Universal Studios and took in a Trace Adkins concert. I sent him on a birthday Easter egg hunt where he discovered at the end that he would be going to Ireland the following weekend. Except that the trip didn’t work out because we were flying standby and the seats were booked. We ended up breaking our backs sodding our yard instead. So we tried again the following weekend… and it worked! We spent three-and-a-half quick, lovely days visiting his family and taking in amazing sites.

Hiking in Northern Ireland

In May our friends gave us a joint birthday party at our favorite restaurant, The Lazy Goat. We took a road trip to New York City, stopping in DC along the way to take in a chocolate fashion show and visit our friend Jennie. In New York we saw Robin Williams at a taping of The David Letterman Show, went running the full length of Manhattan, and went rowing in Central Park. I happened to tell The David Letterman Show about my brush with fame in 1997 when I was on a Richard Simmon’s infomercial and they wanted to put the video on air, but I couldn’t find it. Oh well. We ate amazing food, watched Cirque du Soleil in a real tent and went to lots of flea markets where I spotted design star Eddie Ross. And I turned 30. It rocked.

A Picture From My 30th Birthday

Also in May we sold our sweet Mini and ended up with a luxurious Audi for less than the cost of our scooter. I appeared on a segment on WYFF called Blog Talk. We also left a disposable camera in downtown Greenville to see what would happen… cheap entertainment at its best

Our "New" Car

In June we did summery things like have a yard sale, buy patio furniture and lounge on the beach at Lake Lure, North Carolina. I did some more decorating around the house and cheered my husband on as he decided to go for an 18 mile jog one Saturday after watching the movie Ultramarathon Man. I also through a backyard baby shower for our neighbors.

In July we went on what was perhaps our longest road trip ever. We drove from Greenville, SC to Denver, CO for the International Christian Retail Show. It was a great week and I met a lot of neat people. Plus we were able to take in some sites in Denver including the Botanic Gardens.

Simple and Beautiful

In August we followed up one long road trip with another one. This time we headed to Iowa for Tonya and Ryan’s wedding. It was an amazing week of fun and friends. We got to go jet skiing, relax and see our awesome friends get married. I also got to show Tim around my college town of Ames and see the dumpy house where I lived. After that relaxing weekend I embarked on organizing Greenville’s first Twestival, a global event to raise money for charity that was pulled together in just three weeks.

Our Friend Tyler was One of the Models

In September we headed to Charleston to celebrate two years of marriage. We rented an apartment above an art studio that came with two beach cruisers which we rode all around town. We came back and put on the Twestival, raising a bunch of money for the Miracle Hill Boys’ Shelter. Local clothing stores outfit models in pieces from their stores along with items from the Miracle Hill Thrift Store. Vespa also featured photos from our last big charity event, 2 Wheels 4 Water, on their Facebook page for thousands of fans to see. In September I also found Ruby. She can in front of my scooter as I was riding up to Walgreens.

Ruby Joined Our Family

In October my sister came for a visit. We carved pumpkins, went hiking and took her to Charleston. Tim and I also did more projects around the house including painting our porch. Our friend JJ pressure washed everything for us, too. We hosted a Halloween dinner party with a few other couples. Tim also ran a half marathon in Greenville and I loved cheering him on!

Tim Nearing the Finish Line

In November we finally started converting our attic into a master suite, work that helped us discover some treasures in our attic including 100-year-old stamps and newspaper molds from The Greenville News. I also taught a coupon class at my church, helping 20 people learn how they can use coupons to give more to local shelters and food banks. I also got word that a national magazine was interested in one of my articles.

Teaching How to Use Coupons to Give More

December was the hardest month of the year. We lost Tim’s Uncle DD. Shortly after that Ruby got out and was killed by a car in front of our house. But we managed to have some wonderful Christmas moments, including our fourth annual visit to Reedy Place, a shelter for chronically homeless people. We also had a great Christmas in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with my family. We got to try hangliding, we went horse back riding on the beach and we rode in a 4-wheel drive SUV on the beach to search for wild ponies. It was a wonderful way to end an incredible year.

Tim and I Looking for Wild Ponies in North Carolina

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Two Lovely Years of Marriage

Celebrating Year Two!

Celebrating Year Two!

It’s been a couple of weeks now, but it’s an important milestone that deserves recognition. On September 2nd my husband and I celebrated two lovely years of marriage. The following weekend we drove to Charleston for a little adventure, a little romance and a little relaxation. We stayed in a beautiful, white-washed studio apartment above an art gallery in the heart of historic Charleston. The place came with two beach cruiser bicycles that carried us all over town. We hit the beach, drank lots of coffee and ate wonderful food. And we reminisced on the highlights of this fabulous year:

Melly and Al’s Iowa Wedding

Working on Our First House

Stephanie’s Visit From Seattle

Picking Apples in the Mountains

Ross and Rebecca’s Wedding

Alanna and JJ’s Wedding in Charleston

Thanksgiving in Vegas & Celebrating My Dad’s 60th, Going to Beatles Love

Christmas in Florida

Seeing Garrison Keillor at the Peace Center

Tim’s Birthday in Florida & Going to Universal Studios, Trace Adkins Concert

Sodding Our Yard Ourselves

Surprising Tim with a Trip to Ireland

Not Getting Seats on Our Flight to Ireland

Going to Ireland the Following Week

A Double Surprise Birthday Party

Visiting Washington DC

Spending Almost a Week in NYC, Pretending We Lived on the Upper West Side

Going to Cirque du Soleil

Throwing Jenna’s Baby Shower

Driving to Denver for ICRS

Driving to Iowa for Tonya & Ryan’s Wedding, Enjoying the Lake

Tubing in North Carolina

Cheering on George Hincapie at the Cycling Pro Championships

Celebrating our Anniversary in Charleston!

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Celebrating Two Years of Marriage in Charleston

I’m so excited! We booked a studio apartment in the heart of Charleston for Labor Day weekend. It’s to celebrate our two year anniversary. We spent our one year anniversary in airports coming back from a wedding in Iowa. Our house was in the beginning stages of being renovated so it was a stressful time. This year will be much different! Check out the place we are staying:

The Studio Apartment in Downtown Charleston

The Studio Apartment in Downtown Charleston

It's Above an Art Gallery

It's Above an Art Gallery

It even has a little deck. I think it looks so clean and peaceful! I’m really looking forward to our romantic getaway and to celebrating two happy, fun, crazy years.

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Don’t You Just Love Weddings?

Don’t you just love weddings? I recently returned from a great one. One of my very best friends in the whole world got married last weekend. The wedding was in Okoboji, Iowa, about 90 minutes from where we grew up. Okoboji is to Iowans what the beach is to South Carolinians. It’s the summer destination for sun and sand.

Jet Skiing on Lake Okoboji

Jet Skiing on Lake Okoboji

We stayed three nights at an Inn on the lake. I went for jogs along the shore and ended my workouts stretching on the end of a dock. The weather was absolutely beautiful and got me anxious for fall. I was a bridesmaid and my husband was the best man. I got to spend lots of time with some of my favorite people. We laughed until our stomachs hurt and made lots of great memories.

The Bride and Her Bridesmaids

The Bride and Her Bridesmaids

The bride and her new hubby are now celebrating in Hawaii. I imagine them relaxing on a tropical beach, zip lining like they are starring in an episode of the Bachelorette and hiking up volcanoes. While I’m a little jealous I can’t be learning how to hula dance, I’m glad I was a part of her special weekend. Now all of my close friends (except for one!) is experiencing the joys of marriage. Congrats Tonya and Ryan!!

All the Married Friends Showing off Our Bling

All the Married Friends Showing off Our Bling

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Driving to Denver: My Longest Road Trip Ever

My husband and I logged about three thousand miles behind the wheel of a minivan last week. We drove out to Denver, Colorado for the annual International Christian Retail Show. It’s a great event and I look forward to going. This was my second show and I love meeting great, passionate people. We had a lot of fun crossing North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and even parts of Kansas. But after you get about 30 miles west of Kansas City there is nothing. Unless you count the occasional wind farm as something interesting to look at. Here are some pics from our road trip, a stop at the Denver Botanic Gardens and, of course, from ICRS.

The St. Louis Arch. This is one of my favorite cities.

The St. Louis Arch. This is one of my favorite cities.

Passing Through Kansas City

Passing Through Kansas City

The Only Somewhat Interesting Thing in West Kansas

The Only Somewhat Interesting Thing in West Kansas

Meandering Through the Denver Botanic Gardens

Meandering Through the Denver Botanic Gardens

Love How This Path Looks Like Flowing Water

Love How This Path Looks Like Flowing Water

Just the Two of Us

Just the Two of Us

Beautiful, Don't You Think?

Beautiful, Don't You Think?

Sonic Flood Kicking off ICRS 2009

Sonic Flood Kicking off ICRS 2009

Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Authors of The Love Dare and Fireproof

Alex and Stephen Kendrick, Authors of The Love Dare and Fireproof

Best-selling Author Karen Kingsbury

Best-selling Author Karen Kingsbury

Hanging Out at the Ambassador Booth

Hanging Out at the Ambassador Booth

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Garage Sales and Mountains: What a Lovely Weekend

Relaxing on the beach at Lake Lure

Relaxing on the beach at Lake Lure

We had such a jam-packed weekend. Friday night we celebrated a friend’s birthday and on Saturday we got up super early to have a yard sale. Three other couples joined in and all together we made about $700. We then spent some of our earnings on a yummy lunch at Firehouse Subs. After that Tim and I went shopping. We decided to go to Garden Ridge to see if they had any cute modern looking pots for our backyard and we ended up buying a patio set, umbrella and two pots! I’ll post pictures of our backyard makeover soon. On Sunday we went to church and stayed for a covered dish lunch after. Then we drove up to Lake Lure to relax on a little beach by the water. We finished our day trip off with some Mexican food and an evening of watching The Number One Ladies’ Detective Agency. What a lovely weekend!

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