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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