Blue Lollipop Road

slow down, cowboy

Hi there. It’s been a while. Almost 3 months, actually. As I’ve been busy working with clients to help them better manage their time, space, and money, (lifestyle), I’ve been guilty of not taking enough time for myself to do what I love the most…be right here. Pretty ironic, eh?

Let’s talk about QUALITY over quantity.

I spent years traveling alone. I’m a big huge fan of solo time. Silent time. Ahhh…the time when nothing is beeping or dinging. That place where you can just breathe, and become more of yourself. Quality time. Think about it, how much quality time have you gotten with yourself, your work, or your family, lately? These days, we even take our phones to the bathroom. Hello, 24/7 plugged in, even when (ahem) are bodies are trying to unplug themselves. Sheesh.

It’s a little much.

Welcome to the spinning club. The place where you snap at your partner, don’t run outside and play with the kids anymore, where your pants are getting tighter because who has time for the gym, and by the time you pick up that magazine you wanted to read front to back, you realize the date says November, 2018 when it’s May, 2019. We are overwhelmed, and have no idea how we got there. We are so burned out, at both of those candle ends, we want to just snap it over our knee.

Pass the tequila! Nah, that’s not a good idea.

I learned long ago, that whenever I start feeling like a total brat, and I want to punch someone, or something in the face, I need to get the hell outta Dodge. Dodge for me means my apartment/city/routine. I’m not the kind of gal who punches people or things, so when the mighty beast fist starts clenching, I know it means…pack your bags, sister, and run for the border.

When’s the last time you wanted to punch someone or something in the face? Do you even have any idea about what you might need when you’re about to lose it on that poor grocery store clerk for simply asking how your day was?

I’ve been at a lake for a few days now, on a private road that’s not even state maintained. The only sounds have been birds, and an occasional boat. Heavenly. I’ve showered daily, but only put a bra on to go to the grocery store, and I really have zero desire to go back to the rat race. Not because I don’t love going to the gym, helping clients, connecting with friends, working my tail off, attending swanky events, sporty events, and educational events, or wearing bras…but because I know all too well how easy it is to get sucked into that gerbil wheel that makes us all a little crazy from time to time.

So what do we do when the peaceful breaks at lakes are replaced with honking horns and stress levels boiling to a million degrees when the rat race start gun goes off?

We just stop. That’s what we do…

…and start again when we have our quality head screwed on straight.

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #KnowYourInventory #LiveSimpleDoMore

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abandon ship!

I mean…abandon crap!

It’s Saturday afternoon. We’ve just finished up another project helping a client take back control of their life, and I’m finally having a few quiet minutes at my desk. Shocker I’m thrilled to have some time to read articles about lifestyle and minimalism that have popped in my inbox recently. I’m adopting the following as the quote of my month of February. It makes me cheer and imagine high-fiving all the soon-to-be clients I will repeat it to:

“Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don’t need. It has the power to change your life dramatically.”

We got this sweet card in the mail from a client we worked with a few weeks ago:

We helped this client abandon a LOT of crap. No, her lifelong items bought with hard-earned money were not garbage, but they were things she no longer needed/wanted/used, and they were holding her back from moving on to the next adventure in life she wants to be on. So? We said peace out, crap! as we waved goodbye and thank you to the donation truck and driver from AMVETS.

(Did I mention how much we love our clients and they become like family?)

Circling back to today…

I just texted one of the realtors I work with and told him the first thought that popped in my head the instant my eyes opened this morning was I wonder if the donation truck has picked up the items from the house yet. The house I’m referring to is the one we prepped for market ready this week. Photos are being taken on Monday, and the house is officially up for sale next weekend. Most people on a Saturday morning would be waking up thinking of coffee, a honey-do list, kids sports games to get to, or who’s turn it is to cook the bacon. My 24/7 thoughts are constantly trying to come up with more ideas on how I can help those around me abandon more crap, so they can seamlessly get to where they’re trying to be.

Can you imagine trying to wake up and get dressed and out the door to your job, or get your kids off to school after walking into your closet looking like this?

If you can’t find your socks, how can you find your sanity in this busy life?

The above photos are from the Blue Lollipop Road collection of before and after. In this case, the “after” aren’t even fully complete, but you get the idea. The before are the reason I wake up thinking about abandoning crap and donation trucks. They also make my head hurt thinking of how stressed I’d be if that was the closet I attempted to dress myself in on a daily basis. No wonder why everyone in America is beeping and angry by the time they reach the Starbucks drive through at 7:30AM Monday – Friday.

IF YOU HAVE LESS CRAP. YOU HAVE LESS CRAP TO MAINTAIN.

Doesn’t that sound so freeing?

ABANDON THE CRAP AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I promise, it works, and we can help you:)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up thinking only about bacon…

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #LiveSimpleDoMore #KnowYourInventory

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join me tomorrow: downsizing

Luxury Home builder, Toll Brothers has asked me to come for a 3rd time to host a downsizing seminar for their prospective and recent home buyers. Tomorrow (Saturday February 8, 2019) I will be at their Regency at Palisades location, just outside of Charlotte, NC. I was at this property last year and LOVED it. During my first visit, I asked the ladies in the office, Is this where our parents move to have more fun than we do?! Pool, golf, club house with chef’s kitchen, tennis and bocce courts, massage therapist, fitness center, and more…and all on site? Yes, please. This community is designed for an active lifestyle. (Didn’t you know 60 is the new 30?)

So what happens tomorrow? I will casually sit and have a conversation in the gorgeous open living room/kitchen/dining area one of the model homes. I’ll advise on how to declutter a lifetime of “stuff,” and plan for a path to more freedom and fun. The Palisades homes are not tiny homes, they’re between 1,700 – 2,400 square feet. Downsizing doesn’t mean living in zero space, it means living simple so you can DO more. It means clearing the chaos from your life, so you have MORE time, space, and money. It means stepping out of the Drone Zone, and getting unstuck.

Are you ready to make a change?

You know I love to talk. Come sit on a couch with me and let’s chat about your next chapter…

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #LiveSimpleDoMore #Downsize

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downsize-o-rama

For anyone who thinks working for yourself would be awesome, you’re right. If you think after you start, you’ll also:

Get rich

Have easy as pie days

Always wear pretty things

Feel glamorous

Sleep 8+ hours a night

Actually be done when you walk out the door

…you’re crazy.

I’m on a 10 day straight run of work like mad, time crunch, let’s get this house on the market now, I’ll sleep later, run. Just 2 more days before break time.

Have it any other way? No, thanks. As my friend Aaron says, I’d rather work 80 for myself any week, before I work 40 for someone else.

AMEN! (And also, we spent the holidays in the Caribbean, so being the boss means you get to choose when to burn the candle at both ends at work, then relax while you light one on the table next to you at the beach as you sip on a corona:)

We finished up a 5,000 square foot purge, organize, and stage to sell in Charlotte, NC last week, then Team BLR directly road tripped up to VA for a much smaller 1,700 square foot home project, filled with lots more than the bigger one had. (Yes! We LOVE to travel to clients. From Texas to Tokyo…we can do it! Call us. We will come to YOU anywhere.) Let the open all drawers and closets, and SEE everything, begin! You’ve got to make a mess, before you make it better. (That’s with everything in life, right?)

(In case you missed above, yes, this is the glamorous uniform I sport in my “office” each day.)

Whoa. Lots of stuff! Intimidated? Never. We aren’t done with this current project yet, but here’s a good idea of a before and after:

This is only just taking off/out/away the piles, and coverings, and repurposing furniture around the house. We snapped this quick photo before we ran out the door tonight, and might change things around another 10 times, but oh the freedom of light, space, and what’s already there to stage if you don’t have the money/time/need to stage with furniture brought in!

Yay.

The best feeling is that we know this client we are working with on this downsize, will soon move closer to her grown kids, grand kids, have less to maintain/less work to keep up with around her next smaller space, and she’ll be able to relax and have more time to do what she loves.

Less stuff. More freedom. Happy life.

YAHTZEE!

Are you ready to get unstuck?

Ok, better hop in the shower and put on something other than my BLR sweatshirt and old jeans so I can get out for date night dinner, all fresh and clean, with my partner in crime. I’m not sure he’s seen me in anything but that uniform in quite some time…

#LiveSimpleDoMore #LoveYourWork #TodayIsTheDay


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less stuff. more freedom. happy 2019

I had a BlackBerry Pearl when everyone else had an iPhone, until I moved Charlotte because I loved it. (Nerd!) I don’t look nearly as cool as the other girls and guys in their all matching ultra planned out fresh new get ups at the gym because I still wear old soccer, and other favorite shirts I love that I’ve hacked up with scissors:

…and I drive a car that’s 15 years old and has 260k on it, because I love, love, love it. I’ve never thought of myself as way ahead of the curve or super trendy, but turns out I am! I’ve only and always ever kept/owned things that I love and make me happy.

This Marie Kondo life-changing trend of joy and magic sweeping the universe since her book a few years back and the tidal wave obsession her advice has created over the last couple weeks since her show Tidying Up starting airing on Netflix has me saying, REALLY!?! like Seth & Amy. When was it EVER a good decision to keep/have any things (or people) in our lives that don’t bring us joy? I thought everyone got that memo long ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to think this make sure joy sparks when you see/touch/feel everything you own mayhem happening will have me seeing less eye rolls from clients when I remind them you only have only 4 burners on your stove so how many frying pans can you really use?! and more high-fives & fist pumps as we purge, baby, purge the excess crap that’s burying them, en route to their freedom. But! For a gal like me who’s been living on her bright blue lollipop soapbox proudly labeled LESS STUFF, MORE FREEDOM, HAPPY LIFE…for years, I’m starting to wonder if I need to morph myself into an adorable tiny zen Japanese woman to get people to truly tune in.

Seriously though, if this cute little doll faced woman is what it takes for the world to start thinking about how they actually feel each day, and what they really want out of life, then address those most important to-do’s…I shall bow to the queen of “tidying.” Keep it up, sister!

While Marie jet sets the globe sparking joy in homes rolling t-shirts and filing papers, I’m going to keep lighting fires under asses of people that are ready to start fresh by setting their whole “place” up in controlled burn style flames.

GO TEAM DIANE MARIE! (Marie is actually my middle name:)

It’s a new year, and high time to sort out, kick out, or throw out any and all that makes you feel stuck, suffocated, or like crap. If you need someone to light your ass on fire, call me! (Seriously…call me at 804.339.6514, email Diane(@)bluelollipoproad.com, or send a message on my contact page.) I will Marie Kondo (ahem, Diane Peacock), the flip out of your life.

No more waiting.

We chose to spend the holidays in the Caribbean, because we’ve committed to wasting as little time, space, and money as possible, so we can do things like this.

How are you going to find more freedom in 2019?

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #LiveSimpleDoMore #BLRLifestyle

*I was asked to host another downsizing seminar here February 9th, so if you’ll be in the in the Charlotte, NC area, please join us! More info. to come soon!

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holiday priorities

If this is supposed to be the Most Wonderful Time Of The Year, why can’t we just stick with the parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting, and leave the shopping madness behind? I watched this TED Talk last week, and thought it was perfect for a post today, the day when we’re all supposed to rush like crazy, scouring various retail websites for 24 hours to spend money many of us don’t have, buying crap nobody really wants, so we can take advantage of all those online “deals.”

Year after year, when I see ads for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, they make me want throw my shoes at the TV, the billboards, and my computer. We all talk about how “things” are not important, that people and time are. We greet every Tom, Dick & Harry from the street, our offices, and the grocery store, with huge smiles and “Happy Thanksgiving!” during the 3rd week in November… and then? We forget what’s important just like that. (Please snap your fingers here.) Before granny has passed the cranberry sauce, we’re racing out the door to the mall elbowing that woman next to us in the aisle for the last coffee mug with snowflakes on it set, or we’re opting out of an in-person conversation with our brother we only see once a year, so we can log on and fill up our virtual shopping cart with gifts, putting us farther into credit card debt.

Did we seriously already forget what we’re really thankful for, before we even had a piece of pumpkin pie? Again?

Gallup reports that Americans will spend an average of $885 on Christmas this year. That $885 is not just $885. Add in your time running around trying to find something, anything that person X might want, sitting in traffic cursing at people in parking lots who don’t move quickly enough out of that space you want, fighting crowds like you’re trying to get to the front row at Lollapalooza, and the stress monkey you turn into as you freak out about whether or not person X will even like what you bought them. Now add in items that will end up as waste in the the landfills, and the interest we will accrue on our credit cards over the next 12 months for those purchases.

A Merry Christmas, indeed.

Notsomuch.

The actual COST of what we buy is far more than what a price tag reads.

Before you call me Ebenezer Scrooge, you should know that I fully believe in and promote gifting of time, and/or experiences…at any time of year; Coffee, dessert, lunch, drinks, or dinner out with your bff’s. A gift card for your mom to get a mani/pedi or massage because you know that selfless woman would always feel guilty buying a spa service for herself. A weekend away for you and your sister to have some fun. A special “skip” day for you and your 10 year old to have pizza in the park and hang out when everyone else is at work or school. A hot date night out with your honey- get gussied up and go out to a restaurant you never would otherwise try. A day with me to help your parents, your recently divorced aunt, or your new mommy friend purge all the stuff in their houses that makes them feel buried. (Who can argue with these effective and enjoyable ideas?!:)

I can see the rolling eyes of parents with 3 kids under the age of 12 right now as they read this. Yes, you are probably the only ones who should be speed-racing in a furry to wrap toys and games for stacking under the Christmas tree while your sweet little nuggets still believe in Santy Claus. A living room full of boxes, bows, and screeches of joy from the young ones on December 25th is a cherished and beautiful thing. But for the rest of us adults:

Can’t we all just give each other the gift of a little more time together?

I’m guessing that person who loves you would be thrilled if you spent the money sending yourself on a plane to see them, instead of sending a fruit basket:

Christmas In Madrid

*Photo credit goes to my selfie arm in a sister and mom sandwich. Spain, holiday 2016*

My Christmas wish this year is that we all say THANKS a little more, do more GIVING of ourselves, and we remember to show love throughout the year by SHOWING UP when someone might need us. That is the best kind of gift we could ever give, my friends. (Ok I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I also wish for those delicious cheese straws my friend Sandy makes, too.)

Here’s to more time sharing laughs over pumpkin pie and cheese straws.

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #ExperiencesNotThings #TheYearOfLessCrap

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it’s time to initiate a controlled burn

I came to a coffee shop this afternoon to write about a few books I studied on physical and emotional clutter this weekend, but upon my arrival, this text popped in, so I had to pivot:

Quitting Is For Winners

Yahtzee!

Another human who has stepped out of the Drone Zone, and I was able to help. (The Drone Zone is that place where you stay…even though you don’t want to, while you live, work, or play, as a silent, hurting, walking zombie, who’s soul feels crushed every minute of the day.) Sounds dramatic, but it is real. I warn people about hanging out with me personally or professionally, because I’m usually the one to say something like Then why the hell are you doing it?! Let’s make a plan and get you the heck outta dodge! I expect the same from people who give a hoot about me. Often there are tears, or someone gets pissed at the other for being brutally honest, but everything evens out. The truth is one tough, and not so delicious cookie most of the time.

Humans are killing themselves. LITERALLY KILLING THEMSELVES, because they feel stuck, and unsupported in making change. Just last week within 2 days, I heard about 3 (THREE!) friends of friends who committed suicide. THREE you guys. The sadness that runs through me for all the people that love those people makes me want to throw up.

I don’t have the answer….but I’ve always thought that at the most simple level, if you’re walking this earth on any given day feeling just blah, thinking that someone or everyone at any and every minute would judge you for quitting or changing (your job, your wife, your hobbies, your friends, etc.)- any of us (this includes us “happy,” productive ones who have oodles of friends and family), could quickly end up in very, very dark places.

There’s no better feeling to me, than guiding someone (friend or client), to run fast and furious out of their Drone Zone, and seeing them fly. The person above reached out to me several months ago. She was suffering in her job, but felt obligated to stay. She had well given it her all, and yet still felt guilt (totally normal) about leaving. I assured her that nothing was worth torturing herself, but if she wanted to keep pushing, to just please make sure when it crossed the line of soul-crushing to call me, and I’d be right there to help her game plan a respectful and healthy exit.

And I was, and she did, so we met this weekend. And then she quit her job today. And I am so damn happy for her.

Hide your children, your husbands, and your friends before I get ahold of them…because if they tell me they’ve tried their damndest, or just don’t want to whatever anymore, I will stand on the front lines, and skip with a bunch of balloons straight down the Blue Lollipop Road to Quitsville with them, then launch them into whoever or whatever we find that’s a better fit. I refuse to not speak up when I see someone suffering.

If all of us bruised beauties were brave enough to share just how twisted times in our own lives have been, maybe we could save someone else’s.

I believe.

Speak up, stand up, and let’s all push to close the door to the Drone Zone, forever.

#RespectTheClock #Listen #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone

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it’s never too late

I had a great lunch today at Charlotte’s brand new “55 and better” community, Overture Cotswold! I left behind a free consultation certificate, in the form of a jar of blue lollipops of course:

Happy Blue Lollipop Jar

The Overture staff asked me to come talk to new and perspective tenants and I jumped at the chance. I love this building and their concept of apartment life kicked up a notch with amazing amenities. What’s not to love about simplifying your lifestyle at any age, especially once you’ve raised kids, taken care of the lawn for 20 years, replaced the water heater a few times, or looked around wondering why you have 3 spare rooms that never get used?

As I spoke with this group, I told them most of my clients say the same 3 things:

1.) I didn’t realize I had so much crap. (They laughed.)

2.) I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.

3.) I feel so much more free!

If you’re considering a lifestyle change including a whole lot more time for friends, family, travel, and fun…consider an option like this. Did I mention they have weekly happy hour in the club room? Walking downstairs in your sweatpants to have a little toast and social time with your neighbors at the end of the day sounds good to me!

60 is the new 30. There are no rules that say you have to stop dancing just because you have a few wrinkles.

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #LiveSimpleDoMore #ImNotOnVacationILiveHere

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happy 10th birthday blue lollipop road!

Holy moly it’s TRUE! We just turned TEN this week!

I still remember the instant the name “Blue Lollipop Road” popped into my head. I was in the Outer Banks of North Carolina happily driving down the road the day before a friends wedding. At the time I was engaged myself. I couldn’t wait to start writing and sharing stories about my travels. I also wanted to create a way to help others find more freedom in their lives because so many people constantly shared with me that they felt stuck.

Here we are 10 years later and I get to help people simplify and better manage their time, space, and money, so they can have the lifestyle they want.

Oh happy day!

I went for a solo walk last weekend on the beach in South Carolina. It was right after a crazy storm. The air was so incredibly humid- as if I was on a tropical island. I was in heaven. Here’s a photo:

Kiawah Island Sunset Beach Walk

I walked so long it became pitch dark by the time I turned around. I may have gotten a little lost, but I loved every minute of it.

When’s the last time you were so in love with what you were doing you got lost in time?

At one point as I wandered through the warm night shallow waves, I posted a different photo of the sunset with this, on Instagram:

Ever stop for a minute in your days and think about what you would do if you didn’t have any more? I do. All the time. Maybe too much. The good thing is, I celebrate everyday like I’m doing right now, during my no filter sunset beach walk. Don’t like something in your life? Change it. That’s the BLR Lifestyle. We all have far too little time to waste any of it. Respect the clock. What are you waiting for?

For 10 years now, plus far more I’ve been inspired to keep reminding myself and others around me, that we don’t have to wait for anything; approval, perfect timing, or permission.

The Big Red Lollipop

(Isn’t this the coolest? It’s a life sized red Blow Pop sculpture! Not a blue one, but I like it. I took this photo in San Antonio, Texas Thursday night during a delicious client dinner at Battalion. I thought it was perfect timing for the BLR birthday week.)

Life is so simple, and we complicate it. Aren’t the best times spent with people instead of things? Isn’t a meal shared with interesting conversation and laughter, the best kind of medicine? Don’t you think it might do your body good spending a night out looking up at the sky, instead of staring up at the television?

Not much sticks around for 10 years. My engagement didn’t last after the launch of Blue Lollipop Road (thank goodness, because I’ve finally found my right person!), my friend who got married that weekend in the Outer Banks is now divorcing, and there have been a zillion other ups and downs since then. What sticks for me though, no matter what swirls around in this crazy life, is that everyday is a chance and choice to change what’s not working. We are never stuck unless we don’t have our health. The things that weigh us down or break our hearts are not worth keeping us stuck, as days tick by.

I hope I get to continue sharing my stories and doing the work I love for 10 more years, another 10 after that, and more. I hope the same for you.

Call Me, Maybe?

(Yep, they still have a row of phone booths in the historic San Antonio, supposedly haunted Menger Hotel.)

Ready to get kicked out of the drone zone? Call me, maybe…

#GetUnstuck #LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #StartDriving

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blr summer tour 2018: rock on

Hey there, summer! It’s official…we are ON THE ROAD!

Another butt-busting run of client projects, has left my squirrel spinning brain, far away from quiet, focused coffee sipping and writing time. Well, good morning today, from my catching up on things desk (friends dining table), in Virginia!

GET SHIT DONE Mug

This mug jumped out at me when I opened the cupboard. We’re a match made in heaven!

Since my last post about crawling on the floor, we’ve done a ton more crawling, lifting, lugging, organizing, selling, planning and managing of client lives and transitions. I’ve also kept my cheesy thumbs up photos going, for your viewing pleasure:

Diane Peacock in a pile of purge!

Nothing says glitz and glamour, like hauling out a huge pile of trash upon arrival at a project!

The first stop on the Blue Lollipop Road Summer 2018 tour was Charlottesville. This client family had taken off to California, and we were the wrap crew. We got to work quickly sorting and selling items they left behind. At the very end of our stay, we donated the last few boxes, bags, and pieces of furniture to the good guys:

BLR Donations!

(Thanks for the pick up, Salvation Army!)

Not a bad location for a week of work…

If you haven’t been to Charlottesville for a while, you should put it on your calendar. I used to go regularly, back in my Richmond days, and boy has it grown since then! Amazing food, lots of fantastic music/art, and events. Best? This gorgeousness in wine country, a 15 minute drive away:

Virginia Wine Country

Virginia Wine Country

Because we think it’s important to work hard and celebrate even harder, we did just that on one special day:

Pippin Hill Vineyard

Pippin Hill Vineyards is a perfect spot to make a big, bubbly toast. (You’ll have to keep following here for news on what we were celebrating. There are lots of exciting things coming up this month.) In true BLR style, this summer has ended up being like many others; thousands of miles of adventure about to be logged in the books, for both work and fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’re thrilled we were able to help this last “C’ville” family happily launch into their new West Coast life, while we took care of business for them back East. We love that we can travel anywhere to make any kind of transition easy, for those who might otherwise find big change, stressful.

Are you ready for a lifestyle switch up? About to lose your mind with too much on your plate during a move? Ready to empty that nest? We’ve got your back! Drop us a line, anytime. In the meantime, cheers to warm days and sunshine!

Next up:

Weddings, baseball, feasting with friends, 2 big birthdays, and oh, did we mention, concerts at Wrigley Field?

Rock on! See you on the road…

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #TodayIsTheDay #StartDriving

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