BLR Play It Forward 2016

the pivot of the strong mojo

Today is Monday which is technically a work day for all of us adults, but it also happens to be one of those work days I have done very little to make actual money. As much as money is a necessary thing, I realize once again on days like this, there is absolutely nothing that could ever make me feel richer than the time I have with all the amazing people in my life, and doing work that makes me proud. I’ve spent my entire day on a project that has meant more to me over the past several years, than I could ever put into words. A few photos from our 2016 summer event:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

The original idea for BLR Play It Forward, was to have a travel scholarship that would be gifted each year during our alumni reunion event, to a deserving soccer playing student at my hometown high school in support of them participating in either a language exchange program, a Gap Year, or an adventure travel trip for personal development. The first few years we had great luck with finding deserving students and programs. I don’t think there are a lack of those anywhere. The adults are the problem. (Always:) Let’s just say after this amazing force of nature we created, happening year after year, with all it’s amazingness, we found out that if there are hundreds of people yelling, YEAH! over here, and one or two people pretending they don’t see you over there, you’re better off barking up the tree that wants to actually participate.

So this means a shift for our annual Play It Forward give back.

Starting this year instead of attempting to partner with the school, we are partnering with the community as a whole and we have plans for a VERY exciting gift that will be a permanent fixture in town. All is in the works and will be a big surprise revealed on event day, July 8th.

The point of this post is to say, when you find what you really love, that thing you feel in every ounce of your bones that means so much to so many people, don’t ever give up. The student travel scholarship portion of my perfect dream for BLR Play It Forward worked for a few years at first, and we have incredibly impressive students who were recipients. Raheema is one of them and she’s pictured above. I’m hugging her in the photo at the registration table last summer. She is now a college athlete and we could not be more proud! We’ve watched her grow up and become every bit of the awesome we knew she would be. Now my perfect dream has shifted for this event and where raised funds go, and that’s Ok. The most important goals will always remain the same. There will always be Strong Mojo. No one could ever stop that.

I hope you will mark your calendars for the weekend of July 7th, and join us in Southern Vermont for this weekend of all things old friends and neighbors coming together, with all the new people in our lives, too. We are an all-inclusive kind of crowd, because love rules on this Blue Lollipop Road. Everyone is welcome!

Here’s to the indefinable essence of something magical coming together. 

#RememeberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #DoGood

0
0

BLR PLAY IT FORWARD 2016 KICKS OFF TONIGHT!

Here we go year #5!

Doing good feels good with all the bad and sad news in the world. Tonight we will kick off our 5th Annual event starting at 7pm at Ramunto’s with our Welcome Back Party:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

Ramunto’s will donate 10% of all sales from anyone joining us, back to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund! Come one and all for craft beer, wine, great pizza, lots of specials and fun! 7pm until ?

Tomorrow we will award scholarship funds, play some soccer, the kiddos will do a fun run at halftime of the game, and we will have Celebration Cocktails to wrap the weekend at Pangaea Lounge. Pangaea will also donate 10% of all sales from anyone who joins to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund. They’ve whipped up a special menu of BLR inspired craft cocktails, too. Yum…

ALL ARE WELCOME FOR EVERYTHING! Bring yourself, your lover, your friends, your dog, your kiddo’s, your former coach, neighbor, grandparents, and whoever else you can think of. THIS IS A COMMUNITY EVENT. (Rain or shine!)

Three cheers for the Bennington Banner and writer Adam Samrov who put out this article about our event, today. Thank you, Adam!

Want to get involved, donate/sponsor, or have a question? Great! See event info. here, or call/email Diane:

804.339.6514

Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com

See you this weekend!

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #PlayForwardGiveBack

 

0
0

work, road trip, and doing good things

Hello Friends & Followers!

It’s been a whirlwind of some very busy client work getting some good people downsized, packed up, and moving on to their next life adventures, I’m about to hit the road for my big annual road trip, and BLR Play It Forward 2016 kicks off just ONE week from today!

PIF 2016

Phew! Days fly by, I start to write here, drafts of posts pile up, ideas constantly swirl, I get interrupted to take care of business elsewhere- and poof, a week or two later my sweet blog is left hanging. Sigh.

Funny how I help people simplify their lives and minimize their madness, and I find myself falling asleep at 11pm still with 10 things on my own to-do list. (Life of an entrepreneur! I would’t change a thing:)

As I pack up now close to midnight, I daydream about the morning when I start off on yet another big adventure of my own, windows will be down in the car, it will be nice and warm outside, and I will be the happiest camper (literally!) around on the way to green mountains first west, then north. I’m ready for some fresh air and a few s’mores (made with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups), sipping coffee on quiet porches, a few Blue Benn breakfast times, and seeing some of my absolute favorite people.

The road always inspires me to write, and it is where I feel the most free and alive…especially when I’m en route to do something good like host Play It Forward, so I’m hoping to share a bunch of awesome things with you here over the next couple weeks. I hope you will share some of your adventures with me, too.

What inspires you to feel good and do good?

#LessStuffMoreTravelHappyLife #GreenSpace #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad

0
0

a time for incomparable experiences

I love waking up in the city:

CLT Skyline

…in the very early morning when the sun has just come up and the streets are all quiet. It’s like a peaceful calm before the traffic storm, those few precious moments for those of us who live on the pavement when we can sip coffee and dream big in peace before the honks and screeches start.

The city; A place where action happens and the world moves quickly. How I love it, and then escaping that madness to the complete opposite end of the spectrum which I love just as much (maybe a little bit more) at this point in my life. This was my happy drive to a client home today in the country:

Country NC

NC Green

Being in cement city for a Vermont girl during the warm months is very hard. Being in cement city for a nomadic-souled national park-loving, freedom-needing road tripping girl is very hard, so drives like this are always welcome. I need open windows, and green spaces. I need outside not inside, and I need room to breathe. Play It Forward Weekend kicks off 3 weeks from today in my home state, and I can’t wait. I always feel my absolute best, most creative, alive, and easy going self on the road. For as much work as this big event entails, it fuels me back tenfold to be able to hop in the car, all windows down and head far north to connect with the place and people I came from and do something good.

I spent many of my young adult years “on the road” in open spaces during the summer doing things like sitting in German biergartens, hiking in and around national parks, driving and camping across the country, and sitting in a hammock in the middle of the South Pacific. This time of year I think about every “kid” like me all that time ago who is boarding a plane heading for a language program in a country far away, or that group of gal pals who just finished up college and are now road-tripping across the country to go work at some random beach bar for the next couple months before they start their “real jobs.” I think about that group of guy friends who are planning a long 4th of July weekend away in the mountains to hike and camp in the next state over. I think about the recent high school grad about to embark on a Gap Year adventure, and I think…HELL YEAH! These are the times.

Oh my gosh that feeling and those experiences. They are THE BEST EVER, and nothing compares.

If you’re a parent reading this, please encourage your kids go on that trip/program/study abroad. They will become forever changed and even more badass than they already are. If you’re a twenty-something reading this and you’re slaving away at a minimum wage job that you hate before you go back to college, tell your boss thanks anyway, pack and bag and go somewhere new. Go explore anything you’ve wanted to before you get bogged down and locked down. You will never regret it, I promise.

My business is teaching people how to live simple so they can do more and be more of what they love. I work with clients typically age 45 – 65 who are making big life changes. A lot of them are getting themselves “unstuck” (whether their decision or not) from situations that were not working or not fun for a lot of years. Either during or at the end of my projects, nearly every single person shares the same three things:

1.) “I wish I had done this sooner.” (Downsizing, moving, jumping, making change, etc.)

2.) “I can’t believe how much stuff I have/had.” (Physical, financial, and personal.)

3.) “I wish I had traveled more when I was younger.”

During this time of year when air is warm and possibilities seem endless, all I think of is why doesn’t everyone who has any power, authority, or advisory over young people just tell them to go, go GO. Go before you collect a whole bunch of that “stuff” like I did! 

For any of my clients who might look back and wish they did things a bit differently, I know I have at least helped them feel more freedom that they might not have otherwise been able to get to. It is so rewarding. We leave each other with hugs most every time and I feel like we teach each other so much. At the end of the day whether you’re 25, 45 or 65, all we really want is to have good times with good people. The stuff really doesn’t matter…period. I learn that again and again and again.

So many of us make big humongous ginormous life decisions (like college majors, careers, cars, houses, spouses, pets, babies, etc.) at ridiculously young ages and far before we have seen the world at all or built the best possible tool box to actually make those often life-altering decisions. Before we decide on important commitments that will seriously change the course of our existence on this planet, I say get lost, go broke, laugh with strangers, try that weird thing, feel uncomfortable, open your mind, don’t listen to naysayers. Move to that place you’ve always been curious about, quit whatever is breaking your heart or sucking your soul. Get up early, stay up late, work hard for what you want and it will all come together. Get your own life, don’t live someone else’s.

Hit the “road,” Jack, Jill, and everyone else who’s young bucket list is overflowing! Collect people and experiences, not stuff. I’ll be thinking of you with big smiles as I hit the road myself here soon, imagining all the awesome adventures you’ll have.

#DoStuffDontBuyStuff #Explore #LiveTheLifeYouWantToLive

 

 

0
0

blr play it forward 2016 kicks off one month from today!

What happens at Play It Forward, you ask?

All awesome things like friends, families, and neighbors, coming together (new and old), lots of socializing fun, honoring people we love who are no longer with us, and gifting scholarship dollars to deserving high school students to help support their travel goals. Doing good and p(L)aying forward to give back, makes everyone smile:

BLR Play It Forward 2015 Screen Shot 2016-06-03 at 11.23.12 AM

We are all hands in for our community kind of gals! So what’s in the hopper for this year? Well check out our event poster:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

…and mark your calendars to join us!

If you can’t join us in some way for this great weekend in Vermont, maybe think about what really matters to you, and make your own community give back wherever you are. Our Play It Forward theme; Remember. Celebrate. Live:

*Remember where you came from

*Celebrate the memories you have

*Live like today is the day

Pretty good rules to live by, right?

Let’s all go and put some more love into the world by being Strong Mojo Warriors. Here we go, year 5!

#RemembercelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #Community

*(A shout out and huge thanks here to Nicole Sauer for her great photos from our 2015 event, and Tracy Bushee-Boudreau for her continued fabulous logo and poster designs each year!)*

0
0

get your give on

Hello, Monday!

Today is May 9th. This means exactly 2 months until our 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event & BLR Memorial Travel Scholarship award, July 9 2016 weekend. (FIVE years!)

We’ve been doing good on our Remember, Celebrate, Live promise since 2012 and couldn’t be more proud. We love playing forward to give back.

Inspired by us? Well thank you…but we wouldn’t be able to do it without YOU! So how do you get involved?

1.) If you’re MAU Women’s Soccer Alumni, you can register here for just a $35 donation to play in the game, Saturday July 9th at Willow Park in Bennington, VT. 100% of registration fees go to the scholarship fund.

2.) Get an event shirt for yourself or your kiddos here. Shirts come in blue and pink, youth and adult sizes.  Just 20 buckaroos donation! 100% of that loot goes straight to the scholarship fund.

3.) Rally your friends, family, neighbors, former teachers, coaches, strangers on the street, or anyone else you like, to come join/hang out/socialize for our Friday night (July 8th) open Welcome Back Party, and Saturday day and night (July 9th) Alumni game, scholarship announcement, and Celebration Cocktails.

4.) Sponsor! We’d love any sponsorships, and promise if you do, we will give shout-outs and love on all print & social media, along with on the BLR website here and more. (We’d especially like to to find a jersey & t-shirt sponsor this year to cover that huge cost. Please call 804.339.6514 or Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com if you’d like to sponsor.)

5.) Donate! 100% of all donations go straight to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund. This fund supports deserving high school students to travel and do community service work. (Wha?! Yep, students doing good while getting a chance to see outside their everyday world. Exposure! Service! Character building! Building a badass next generation! Super awesomeness:)

If you’re a regular reader or BLR follower, you obviously know this Blue Lollipop Road is my life, my passion, my everything, and Play It Forward is by far the work I’m most proud of. I can’t do it alone, so I present a challenge to you readers who I know and strangers I don’t:

Donate $5 now! 

I figure $5  for 5 years of playing forward so we can give back is not too much to ask. Everyone can afford 5 big ones. Won’t you support what we are doing? Click here to donate through PayPal, it is secure, easy, (and dare I say, fun?), or send a check made payable to:
Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund
PO Box 34661
Charlotte, NC 28234

…or

…simply pass this post on! My Christmas wish is that some one, some where, some day, who’s big time, will notice what we are doing and say “Hey! You are spectacular BLR Play It Forward! Here’s some ginormous media and/or a million bucks for your scholarship fund! What you’re doing with your event & scholarship fund is like…totally awesome!”

(Hey- it could happen. It WILL happen.)

So won’t you send some love and spread the love? Oh how important it is, to…

Remember where you came from.

Celebrate the memories and time you have have together.

Live like today is the day.

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

Image

Boom-chicka-boom!

Together we can do so much good.

#RememberCelebrateLive #GetInspired #TodayIsTheDay

0
0

mia

Today is Wednesday April 20, 2016 and hey hey hey…here I am!

You didn’t think that I’d leave you, did you? Give up? Disappear?

Never.

I can’t tell you what’s been happening yet- but I’ve been working on an experiment you’d probably never expect. (Me either, but it was time), so that’s where I’ve been. Sometimes we’ve got to lean on back (big time) to move forward.

In other news, our 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event is fast approaching! Just a couple months from now, we will be in the green mountains of Vermont celebrating life, people, and time together. Mark your calendars for the weekend of July 9th!

Stay tuned, more soon…

#TrySomethingDifferent #StopWorryingStartLiving #Surprises

1
0

things that fill my heart

Today is March 9, 2016 and that means it is exactly 4 months until the 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event in Vermont.

WHOOP! 5TH ANNUAL! 

In 2011 when we (a couple of my amazing alumni soccer soul sisters from back in the day) came up with the idea for an alumni soccer game which then turned into a full-scale community event and scholarship fund, I spent months in my Old Town Chicago apartment, floor 23 overlooking The Second City entrance, in my pajamas trying to figure out how to make it all happen. I remember some days I’d go to the gym for an 8 or 9am class, come back home all sweaty and yucky, wrap myself in a towel intending on getting in the shower, and start working only to find it to be 8 or 9pm and myself sitting there, 12 hours later stinky, starving, and still working. It’s kind of amazing how time flies when you’re in your zone working on something you’re so incredibly passionate about. I’d eventually shower, and often times take the elevator downstairs to Chipolte (which was in the same building as The Second City across the street), get a veggie burrito, sometimes a beer and by 10pm be eating my one meal of the day on my couch in quiet. Rinse and repeat this is how those few spring months of 2012 went before our first big event happened on August 18, 2012.

Check this out! I just found a photo of my little desk area in that great high rise apartment I had:

BLR work space

Small work space that cranked out some dreams. I can’t even remember what I used for a chair! Not fancy. It didn’t matter. Boy those are good memories. This scene is where Play It Forward was born. To this day, my best work and what I am most proud of.

I’ve got buckets of photos from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 – but I will share just one from each year for space sake for today.

2012, balloon release in honor of our friends to kick off the inaugural event:

BLR Play It Forward 2012

All hands in before game, 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

The Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship award, 2014:

Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship

Me and “Mr. B” last summer, 2015 – one of our most loyal fans and supporters, cheering us on each year in his same white t-shirt:

Mr. B and I

(That sweet guy was my 6th grade teacher!)

There’s no way I could share here, all the photos and words I have that would illustrate properly the amazing impact we make. This day is so special you have to be there to believe it. (I hope whoever you are reading this, you will join us this summer in some kind of capacity!)

On July 9, 2016 we will once again come together to reconnect, reminisce, play soccer, cry together, laugh together, and give back. I already know it will as usual, be my favorite day of the year. A bittersweet day in this “brutiful” life, where nothing else matters other than coming together to remember, celebrate, and live.

What do you do, to make sure you never forget where you came from?

#RememberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo

0
0