Illinois

speaking of food

As I keep playing with food to make many of my BLR’s for my 365 project, let’s go all the way foodie-foodfest and help me in supporting my very good friend, and former soccer teammate- Chef Ryan Hutmacher for ABC’s The Chew! Yippee! Ryan is part of The search for the weightwatchers chef!

Here we are a few weeks ago when I was in Chicago:

Ryan was busy and hard at work, so our lunch catch up was where else? His studio; Centered Chef.

To say that Ryan has been a good friend and support to me, and all things Blue Lollipop Road over the past few years, is an understatement. He is that positive, but no bs cheerleader. The do the right thing when nobody is watching, honest to goodness, passionate, loyal, smart, driven, talented, sweet, and funny guy we all should be lucky enough to have in our lives to keep us inspired. I have seen few people work harder and be more dedicated than Ryan. Blood, sweat, tears, and more, this guy is the perfect example of stand-up, never stop following your dreams, and do work that matters. I hope anyone reading this will join me and  click on this link here and “like” on the Facebook/ABC Chew page to help support Ryan in this competition.

Good luck Ryan! Thank you for your continued support with all my big Blue Lollipop Road goals. You will continue to inspire health, wellness, and that anything really is possible- in all of us.

Here’s to going for it!

#WorkThatMatters #CenteredChef #LiveWell.

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a freeze and thaw december

‘Tis the season for holiday travel!

I’m en route to Chicago now (BRRR…) and no surprise a major delay on my flight (BOO…) so I will miss a lunch date at one of my most favorite Windy City chow spots, but at least I have the rest of a long food, love, fun-filled wedding weekend to look forward to. (Maybe I didn’t really need those pretzel encrusted pancakes with white chocolate sauce today anyway. I do have to fit into a pretty tight dress on Saturday night.) I cannot wait to be back in one of my favorite ever cities!

In an effort to balance out the chill, we are going to the Carribean for Christmas! (Whoop!) Nothing says Happy Holidays to me like a sandy beach, warm sunshine, a tropical drink, and a super-awesome, fun, cute man to frolic and adventure with. Thank you, Santa!

Having a home base is good and all, but lets face it- travel rules and the road will always call. (For me anyway.) I love watching people, I love new experiences, new foods, and exploring everything possible. I can’t imagine that ever changing. As I sit here in the hustle and bustle of the busy CLT airport, I feel invigorated and alive. So many places to go, so much to see, so little time…

Travel Channel, Discover Channel, Travel company X- when are you going to hire me already? 🙂

What makes you feel invigorated and alive?

#CantShakeTheTravelBug #TravelJunkie #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad.

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HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY BLUE LOLLIPOP ROAD!

YIPPEE!!!

Today is Wednesday October 16, and this makes b-day number 5 for BLR. Let’s celebrate!

Cupcake anyone?!

She-Daisy Cupcakery Cupcake

This is the perfect time to write about the above de-lish treat (sun drop pound cake with a sun drop glaze and lemon buttercream) that Wendi, Owner of She Daisy Cupcakery gifted me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of my vintage Frye boots. (Craigslist rocks.) So yeah, I took a treat from a stranger. (I seem to keep breaking all those rules our parents told us to live by.) Wendi was a blast to talk to. She quit a career that was blah, followed her passion to the land of things sweet- and voila a cupcake company! Another good story about a random encounter with a hard-working, inspiring person who followed their heart. I love being able to share about these kind of people here.

Without a doubt the best part of these past 5 years on the Blue Lollipop Road, has been meeting new people, the kindness of strangers, and spending time with those already in my life that I love. What else is there, really?

Ahhh- yes, the people I’ve met along the way, who share similar interests:

Million Mile Joe

Hood River, Oregon travel people

Allen & Judy Kirkwood on Alaska Ferry Boat

Meet Jack Burrows: Blue Lollipop Road

…the cities I’ve fallen in love with:

Chicago skyline from my apartment

Toronto view

…my various office locations:

Blue Benn Diner Office

Coffee Shop Office

Finger Lakes Office

My BLR Chicago Office

Coffee Shop Office

Coffee Shop Patio Office

…the food I’ve noshed on:

Chicago Brunch de-lish

Food truck tacos

Bongo Room Pancakes

Blue Benn Diner breakfast appetizer

…the places that’ve helped me find the way back to myself:

Thank you Argentina! I found myself again

…the signs that make me laugh:

Signs at The Chocolate Barn

Signs In Bathrooms

Upstate, NY Road Signs

Farmer's Market

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

…the excitement, energy, and adorable kids (and adults) who keep the Strong Mojo alive:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

Ben & Sam with blue tongues

The Carter Girls playing mini gold in BLR tees

Blue Lollipop Kids!

Caleb & Carter with blue tongues

Scott & Sierra love blue lollipops

…the adventure from coast to coast and beyond:

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

BLR-Mobile at the Alaska Border

BLR in Bermuda

The original Blue Lollipop Road: Cafayete, Argentina

Henna in India

Bermuda sights

Iquazu Falls, Argentina

London

"Crabbing" in Ketchikan, Alaska

…the lessons I’ve learned:

BLR inspiration

…the special friends I’ve reconnected with:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2013

BLR PLay It Forward Day 2012

BLR PLay It Forward Celebration Cocktails 2013

…honoring lost friends by giving back to hometown female athletes, so they have the opportunity to go out and see a bigger world too:

BLR Memorial Scholarship recipients Hannah Patterson & Mercedes Chen

(Above left 2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson, and 2013 recipient Mercedes Chen at a recent soccer game:)

…events with good friends in beloved landmarks:

Cubs at Wrigley!

…the strangers out there who’re also on the Blue Lollipop Road:

BLR partners in crime

…the freedom I have found and felt:

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

…the truths I’ve come to know and trust:

Knowing what makes me richer

…the journeys and daydreaming in the sky:

Plane ride to Bermuda

…and on the road:

VA farm country

…the cheesy places I’ve been:

BLR-Mobile at South of the Border

…and the beautiful:

Napa hot air balloon mornings

…the nicknames I’ve acquired:

Nicknames

…knowing that there will always be bumps, so I better strap in tight:

Buckle up on the BLR

…never losing faith in things that I hope for:

I think so too

Things I wish

…and to wherever, and whatever- the road leads to next:

The Blue Lollipop Road

5 years ago today I drove down a road in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and “Blue Lollipop Road” popped ever so randomly into my head as I was brainstorming a best way to share my stories with more than just family and close friends. Who knew this is what it would become! I’ve managed all the above on a shoestring budget and with no plan whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with a trust fund, I never spent my childhood jet-setting the globe with my parents (I barely made it out of the state of Vermont until I was 15), I’ve never taken any writing or computer classes (I’m sure that is very obvious considering my regular grammatical errors and other:), and at the risk of sounding so cliche’- I’m just a small town wildly curious kid, that came from humble beginnings, learned in an heartbreaking incident at a very young age how short life is, and since then have decided that every day is a chance and a choice to live like I mean it. During my journeys on this Blue Lollipop Road, I’ve learned things that’ve absolutely changed my perspective and my life as a whole, I’ve seen places that’ve taken my breath away, and I’ve met people I wouldn’t have been able to in my wildest dreams- all because of this platform. Now that is something to celebrate!

I’ve written and shared here in and effort to keep myself in check and awake about what’s really important, to prevent myself from falling into the drone-zone, and to remember all the things that are possible. I hope by visiting here, you stay fired-up about life, like a kid in a candy store too.

Here’s to the next 5 years, and to going for it all.

What are you celebrating today?

#HappyBirthday #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ThisIsWhatILove.

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in honor of national taco day…

…I thought I’d share a few photos from one of my favorite noshing spots in Chicago: Big Star.

Big Star Chicago

Even though I pretend to be vegetarian, I am all about Big Star’s Tacos al Pastor. In fact, I’ve always eaten that one so fast when I’m there- I don’t even have a photo.

Dear Cilantro & Pineapple

I love you.

~Diane

My veggie tostada shot will have to do:

Big Star Chicago

(To all of you carnivores out there…you win on this one. The marinated pork of a Taco al Pastor pretty leaves anything veggie in the dust.)

Besides great tacos, there are lots of good drinks and colorful, sassy employees at Big Star too:

Big Star Chicago

The bathroom is even fun:

Big Star Chicago

(I’m realizing I take a lot of photos in bathrooms. Funny considering I’m a germaphobe.)

Oh how I love and miss you and your food Chicago!

Where’s your favorite taco joint??

#NationalTacoDay #BigStar #ChicagoEats #FoodPorn.

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destination: chi

She’s baaaaack!

A whirlwind fun weekend and gazillions of miles and on the road and I’ve made it to my destination where the event is, that inspired this whole crazy road trip the past few weeks.

I’m so excited to be back in the Windy City, the city I love the most. I’ve only been here 12 hours and this place has already given me quality time with great friends, amazing food, and a long morning run that just made my Monday kick off with a boom. I’ve chosen a warmer spot to be my next home base (which I will share soon) but if this place they call Chicago ever goes through some sort of freak of nature weather change and becomes less snowy and cold and more sunny and warm- you’ll know where to find me.

I LOVE YOU CHI-TOWN!!!

Here’s to a GREAT week ahead..

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epic august

The word “epic” has become very trendy and overused these days to describe anything and everything big time and cool. I’ll have to jump on the epic bandwagon here like everybody else, because I’m quite sure my August is going to be epic and them some. Here’s what this month has in store for Blue Lollipop Road and I:

*Major road trip action~ Chicago to Wisconsin to Vermont to Upstate, NY Finger Lakes to Toronto to Washington DC to Virginia

*A 34th birthday

*BLR PLay It Forward Event

I always end up doing some kind of fun adventure each year this month because It’s summertime and my birthday time.. This August though, I’m by far more thrilled about and anticipating than any other. It might be something about a bunch of great road trip time, feeling happier healthier, and more balanced as I get older, and hosting an event that means everything in the world to me. Yeah…that.

Here’s to august 2012 and living life like you mean it!

 

 .

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inspired by best of the road

After these past few weeks of talking about, reviewing, voting on, and dreaming of America’s most:

*Beautiful
*Patriotic
*Friendly
*Fun
*Best for food

…small town spots. Team Blue Lollipop Road was inspired to dive into our photo archives and pull out some of our snap shots that reminded us of each category.

*Beautiful

Sitting on a lawn during sunset in Cape Elizabeth, Maine:

Cape Elizabeth Maine sunset

Morning grapevines and hot air balloons after a run in Napa:

Napa morning hot air balloons

Hiking near Hood River, Oregon:

Hiking near Hood River, OR

On a boat ride and fishing trip in Juneau, Alaska

on the water in Juneau, AK

*Patriotic

Driving through Poland Springs, Maine

Flag on firetruck in Poland Springs Maine

On the back roads of Sandgate, Vermont:

The BLR-Mobile in Vermont at covered bridge

The town square in Bath, Maine:

Town sidewalk in Bath, ME

*Friendly

With Ferry Manager in Swan Quarter, North Carolina:

Swan Quarter, NC Ferry Manager

The staff at Mainely Custard in Freeport, Maine said- “Come on in!” when I told them I was a big ice cream fan:

Staff at Mainely Custard

The Popcorn Man in St. Helena, California:

The Popcorn Man in St. Helena, CA

3 gents I met at Alaska Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska:

Friends in Juneau, AK

*Fun

Our hilarious rafting guide near Hood River, Oregon:

Rafting guide in Hood River, OR

Staff on a Beatles themed  food bus in Virginia:

Staff on the Yellow Submarine Food Bus

Dancing Pedro at a country bar in Illinois:

Diane dancing with Pedro in Illinois

Concert goers dancing the night away with us in Wilmington, NC:

Fun concert friends in Wilmington, NC

*Best for food

Me noshing on a whoopie pie in Maine:

Diane noshing on a Maine whoopie pie

Dessert at Dano’s on Seneca, Hector NY

Dessert at Dano's on seneca Lake

Breakfast crepes in Madison, Wisconsin:

Crepe at the Bradbury in Wisconsin

Fresh veggie quesadillas in Illinois:

Quesadilla in Illinos

Dessert crepes in Charlottesville, Virginia

Diane noshing on Crepe in Charlottesville, VA

(Clearly we are not afraid to dive right in!)

So many amazing people, place and things in America to enjoy. We love that when you travel, all you have to do is be your interested, open, and curious self- and people invite you right in to join anything!

There is always plenty of adventure around every corner…

Here’s to the road!

 .

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