Category Archives: Holidays

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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Filed under Family, Friends, Funny, Getaways, Holidays, life, Marriage, Uncategorized

2010: What a Year!

To bid farewell to 2010, the hubs and I created this list of our top ten moments of ’10. We stuck it in our Christmas card this year, but I thought I’d post it here as well. Tonight we’re having warm lobster salad and chocolate-pistachio cannoli, watching a movie and watching the ball drop. I’m ringing in the new year with my favorite person by my side and that’s all that matters. I hope you have a happy celebration!

TIM & ALI’S TOP 10
10. BEING A FINALIST: We were in the running (twice) to have our home appear in a real estate segment on the Today Show and Ali almost got a national commercial for her Aha Moment.

9. BIRTHDAY BLADING: To celebrate Ali’s 31st b’day we rollerbladed from Greenville to Travelers Rest—that’s 24 miles! Special thanks to the golf cart driver who pulled us up that last hill.

8. MIDWESTERN ROAD TRIP: In late June we took a tour of the Midwest, stopping in St. Louis for a Christian trade show (and some Ted Drewes!) and ending up in Ali’s hometown of Sioux City, Iowa for the 4th.

7. SPRINGTIME IN THE CITY: In May we drove up to New York City for Book Expo America and we got to see Barbara Streisand, Rick Springfield and how could we forget, one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

6. THE TRAVELING JOURNAL: In February four of Ali’s friends visited for a magazine photo shoot about the traveling journal they’ve shared for a decade. The photos haven’t been published yet, but the girls did create a business plan, launching TheTravelingJournal.com mid-summer.

5. WEDDING BELLS: Ali’s sister Stephanie and her fiancé Jason tied the knot in the beautiful San Juan Islands. We toured the island on mopeds, poked alpacas, went whale watching and kayaked near seals. Oh yeah, and the wedding was lovely, too.

4. OUR HAIRY SON: We started the year off by adding another member to the Lowry household. Milo (aka. Special Eddie) is loveable, energetic and endless fun. Bruno usually likes his new brother.

3. UNDER CONSTRUCTION: After nine months of hammering, sawing and painting we finally completed the long task of turning our stinky attic into a luxurious master suite complete with a marble shower and a walk-in closet. Tim’s now available for odd jobs if you’re hiring.

2. A FAMILY ADDITION: We found out Ali’s sister is expecting a baby boy! It’s the first baby on both sides of the family so we’re excited to spoil our new nephew, due January 4, 2011.

1. CROSSING THE FINISH LINE: Three months of training, four pairs of running shoes and hundreds of miles later, we finally crossed the finish line of the Greenville marathon hand-in-hand. Tim’s parents were there to cheer us on and take photos. Training for the marathon was a lot like 2010—challenging and exhilarating. But on race day we were able to cross the finish line knowing it was both the ups and downs that prepared us to complete the race—an accomplishment we will always cherish.

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Handmade Holidays: Fun With Yarn and Coffee Filters

I love making things by hand. I’m not necessarily that great at it in fact I can barely sew a straight line (my living room curtains prove that) but I still enjoy it. Recently I’ve put together some cute decorations for a Woodland Theme Baby Shower I hosted:

 

Baby Shower Table Decor

This was super easy. I borrowed some sawed off logs from my friends, collected lots of pine cones from a nearby empty lot and used aqua thread to add some color. I found those B-O-Y letters at Michael’s and wrapped them in thread. The plain glass vases are from my wedding.

 

Baby Shower Mantel Decor

 

I thought the mantel turned out cute too. For the last baby shower I hosted I made a bunch of those mini-trees which are basically sticks glued into a wooden base and then painted. I suspended some ribbon and yarn between them and printed out letters to spell B-A-B-Y. The onesies hanging up we ended up decorating for the new mom, Rachel. And of course Bruno had to fit in with the decorations:

 

Bruno ready for the Baby Shower!

 

Since I had some extra yarn leftover after the shower and a foam wreath I wasn’t using I decided to get to work.I liked the finished product because it’s a modern take on a Christmas wreath.

 

My New Christmas Wreath

 

I also used some gray fabric and straight pins to create a little bunch of flowers on the wreath bringing the total cost of this project to $0!

 

A Close-Up of the Flowers

 

On Black Friday we bought some skinny artificial Christmas trees at Old Time Pottery. I think the three foot tree was on sale for $4 and the four foot tree was $6. I didn’t want to decorate them with ornaments since I don’t have that many small ones so I made some garland. I just cut out circles from fabric scraps and– believe it or not– coffee filters. Then I sewed them in a line. Of course I made sure the garland coordinated with the yellow door.

 

My Bedroom Christmas Decorations

I’m planning a few other small projects and who knows, I may whip out some more coffee filter garland to use as free ribbon for decorating packages.

 

 

 

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Join in on My Favorite Christmas Tradition!

One Resident Opening Gifts Last Year

For the past five years my friends and I have been “adopting” the residents of Reedy Place. It’s an innovative apartment building that gives chronically homeless people a place to live. After living on the streets, and even in dumpsters as one resident told me, they now have a small apartment of their own. Many of the residents struggle with mental illness, physical disabilities and other issues. But they are beautiful people. And I love spending part of my holiday season with them. This year they recently opened Reedy Place II, a second apartment building next to the first one. That means we have more residents than ever to buy Christmas gifts for– 23 in all! So I thought I’d invite you to join in on this tradition. Feel free to email me at alison at alisonstorm dot com if you have any questions. We’ll be giving the residents their gifts on December 20 at 7pm!

1. Caleb Goodman: Shirt XL, Beige Pants 48×30, Socks size 13

2. James Paul: Jacket XL, Tennis shoes 10 1/2, Socks

3. Richard Dickerson: Red or Blue Baseball Cap, Socks and shoes size 12, Radio

4. Carl Lindsey: Tennis shoes size 9, Sweat suit size 34 pants and large top, Table Clock

5. Thomas Jones: Converter box for a TV, Tennis shoes size 10 1/2, Jacket 2XL

6. Boty Young (male): Crock pot, Tennis shoes size 12; Groceries

7. Anthony Holloway: Jacket size L, Jeans 34×32, Socks or Hat

8. Pamela Cooper: Color TV, DVD player, Gauchos size 20

9. Johnny Mattison: DVD Player, Watch, Timberlain Hiking Boots size 8 1/2

10. Elaine Jones: DVD Player, Converter Box for TV, Watch

11. Larry Huggins: Work Boot size 13; DVD Player, Levis Jeans 38×32

12. Richard Chluzinkski: Ozzy Osborne CD; Converter box for TV, DVD Player

13. Nathaniel Rosemond: Television, Converter Box for TV, DVD Player

14. Veronica Elmore: Underwear size 13, Socks, DVD Player

15. Glen Allen: Sweat Shirt size small, Jeans 29×29, Tennis shoes size 8 1/2

16. Allen Brown: Watch, DVD Player, Gold Chain

17. Illya Golden (male): Long Sleeve Shirt size 18, Beige Pants 46×30, Tennis Shoes size 10 1/2

18. Sherman Simpson: Watch, Jeans 32×32, Jacket size medium

19. William Issac: Fila Shoes size 12 in red, orange or yellow; CD Stereo, Smoothie Maker

20. Marcus Gambrell: DVD Player, Black Coat size large, Work boots size 9

21. Tommy West: Nike Tennis Shoes size 11, DVD Player, Classic Rock CDs

22. Cathy Lagroone: Light Blue Curtains 50″x84″, Spongebob items, Tablecloth

23. Michael Massey: Telephone for house, Dress Shoes 13D, Christmas Candies

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Thanksgiving Yumminess

Don’t you just love Thanksgiving? It’s like Christmas without all the commercialism and stress. It seems like every year we are either traveling or invited to a friends house since we don’t have any family around. Last year our friend’s parents invited us over and the year before that we chowed down at the amazing buffet at Wynn in Las Vegas and the year before that we ate at Denny’s on the way to NYC. Yuck. This year we are going over to another friends’ home and we were asked to bring a vegetable dish. I’ve narrowed it down to two options:

Cauliflower Gratin

OR…

Spiced Butternut Squash

I figure just because it’s a vegetable doesn’t mean it has to be healthy. It is Thanksgiving after all! If there was ever a day to cheat that would be it. Even though we’re spending Thanksgiving at a friend’s house we decided to cook a meal ourselves, too. I bought a cute little ten pound turkey and I plan to cook it up after our Black Friday adventures for Thanksgiving round two. I mostly just want the leftovers since it’s been so many years since I’ve opened a fridge to find stacks of Thanksgiving leftovers. I really can’t remember the last time I had day old turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes hiding under a pool of gravy. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

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Happy Happy Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my better half. My constant comedian. My happy food critic. My hunky gardener. My style consultant. My free counselor. My husband. LOVE YOU!

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Top ‘O the Mornin’ To Ya!

St. Patrick’s Day is especially fun when you’re married to an Irishman. He asked for green coffee this morning, but I wasn’t sure how to pull that off. This Saturday is also a big day. It’s his fifth anniversary in the US. Five years ago he boarded a plane for Atlanta, full of American hopes and dreams. Little did he know he would fall for a girl from Iowa. You can’t get much more American than that! So in honor of St. Patty’s Day, here are some lovely photos of his homeland.

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