Inspiration

just. start. driving.

We all talk. We say we want this and that, we pretend we’re fully committed, we make ourselves feel good by chipping away tiny line items on our never ending to-do lists, years pass, and we never get anywhere, or at least anywhere close to where we actually want to be.

Squirrel!

Am I talking about you? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me too.

We swirl in this purgatory place of half-committed, because life get’s in the way…of life; money, kids, relationships, laundry, rinse and repeat. We ignore the truth, our true desires, we busy and distract ourselves, we worry, we help other people first, and there we are 10 years later.

As in, quite literally, 10 years later.

Blue Lollipop Road kicks off year #10 on October 16th. (TEN YEARS!) When realizing that upcoming birthday during the past few months this summer, along with looking at what my work life had become, (off track from what I’ve really wanted and been trying to do all these years), I decided to call bullshit on myself, and draw my deepest line in the sand yet. I’m a big believer in accountability and willingness to publicly embarrass oneself. Want to light a fire under your own ass even though you know you have the capability of doing “it” on your own? Tell the world you’re going to do something big. Hopefully your world will continue to call you out regularly until you do that thing. (You better believe if you ever tell me you have a burning desire to do something, I will poke you and give you positive grief until you do it. I expect the same in return, so thank you to those of you who always give it right back to me.)

Vacant Apartment

Vacant Apartment

As you can see from the above now empty living space photos, Elvis (Diane) has left the building. Why? To go where? You’ll just have to keep following here to see what’s next.

Would you believe this minimalist, who cares about a space it is only a space and I can make home anywhere! – threw two temper tantrums during her move the other day? Two! As in crying and throwing fists in the air with frustration looking and sounding like that spawn of Satan child in the Target check out line who’s mom said she couldn’t have the M&M’s. It was slightly horrifying. Thank goodness only one person saw, and luckily he still wants to be around me. Who knew I had fallen so much in love with my cozy comfort zone space and habits. All the more reason to jump into a new controlled fire, to keep that light under my ass burning hot. Want to make things happen? Sacrifice, baby.

Crazy how we all like so much, to stay snuggled tight under our warm blankets of complacency, not nearly as alive as we think we are.

As I sit here in my new fire, 110% committed to my one big career goal that maybe should’ve been completed years ago, but probably couldn’t have had the chance to be as great as it will be until now, those annoying little negative, fearful, I must be crazy, worry gnomes are trying their hardest to get a ticket to my party again. Sorry bitches! Ain’t no room for you up in my celebration station anymore! I just took a blow torch to that cozy comfort zone blanket soiree, so I could stand here awkwardly naked, strong and proud, ready to put back on only the layers that fit completely authentically.

On October 16th I will launch a sparkly new writing project here. I guarantee you’ll dig it, and be able to see a lot of yourself in what’s to come. Happy almost birthday to my sweet baby blue!

I hope you go out today, and get all kinds of naked. Nobody has this life perfectly figured out. All you can do is strip yourself down to your core and hop in the car. Somehow the road is always right there.

#LessPlanningMoreDoing #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #TodayIsTheDay

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no more bullshit

I’ve put this video clip in probably no less than 20 blog posts over the years since I started writing. Unfortunately, they all remain in the draft graveyard:

(Link to video here.)

Cheesy as it may be, I am so Jerry McGuire in this scene. I guess it’s just taken me a few years past 35 to write my mission statement. I’m not waiting any longer. I’m not afraid of getting fired.

Once or twice a year when I get SUPER pissed at myself for not writing more, and truly focusing on what I love, this scene pops in my head. Usually I get all fired up, start typing away, get a couple hours into the soap box space I feel so at home in, and then ding goes the phone or email when someone in my life needs something, and off to the archives of drafts, my passionate posts have gone…while my sweet little soul suffers, once again failing at first living for myself.

No more.

This week I had a tipping point moment, standing at an event with some very good friends who know me well and support every bit of me in anything and everything I do and want to do. I had one of the most gut punching moments of my professional life. I felt an enormous furry of anger, sadness, and frustration…and knew it was completely my own damn fault. As we were being introduced around the dreaded and what do you do? circle, every one of them owned and articulated what they “did” perfectly, and then as I described what I did, and they all piped in with their kindness about how good I was at X,Y,Z (which is true, because I have busted my ass to be good at what I’ve been doing to make a living), I couldn’t help but think:

WHAT I’M TELLING THESE PEOPLE AND WHAT THEY KNOW OF ME WORK WISE IS NOT WHAT I WANT TO DO OR WHO I REALLY AM!

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK.

…AM I DOING?!

How could even my closest friends not describe me/what I really do?! Because I haven’t been owning and presenting it out to the world, myself.

I’m a writer who hasn’t kept my butt in the seat. I’m a storyteller who hasn’t been sharing enough of her stories. I’ve gotten seriously sidetracked. When any client at any time asks me to fix a problem, or wants help running their lives better, I drop everything to jump all over the task, then forget about my own. It’s possible to have healthier balance. I know better, we all do!

I stood at that event and wanted to punch someone in the face: MYSELF! No more blogs unposted, books unwritten, or life experience teachings untaught, I said to myself. I haven’t slept on couches, in my car, and traveled the world for the past 25 years talking to, learning from, loving a zillion interesting amazing humans losing some of them along the way, just to keep all the truths and perspective I’ve learned to myself.

Gas up the car! We have officially started driving down this Blue Lollipop Road together. Hang on tight, because I’ll be sharing the things we think, but do not say. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.

If you’re out there getting sidetracked yourself, might I suggest you make a big ol’ pivot and get your butt back in the seat? None of us are truly helping anyone else unless we’re helping ourselves first.

Glacier National Park

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #LessWaitingMoreDoing #HopToIt

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celebrating with my girls

Tonight I’m having dinner with some of my home base gal pals. A few of my besties/girl tribe/bishes/(insert whatever ridiculous or funny name you call your peeps here.) These are ladies in my life who make up just a small portion of badass women who know my crap, call me out when I need it, and who make me laugh until both my face and stomach hurt. I like to refer to some of our antics as complete jackassery, but really our gatherings are pretty tame; food, drink, and conversation about any and everything- no judgments, secrets, or bs, just love, support, and fun, while lots of hours fly by.

Lucky me to have these people.

We will be celebrating my birthday a week late, because last Tuesday (on my actual birthday), I was playing around at Glacier National Park:

Glacier National Park

That trip was a gift from another set of ladies who mean the world to me, my BLR Play It Forward alumni crew. They gifted me a “travel scholarship” at our annual event in July. These ladies thanked me for providing travel scholarships to students in our home town during our first 5 events, and this was their give back to me. In reality, they are the very reason I’ve been able to pull off making Play It Forward a thing all these years.

Lucky me to have these people.

More girls? These two, who are the backbone and continued inspiration for everything Blue Lollipop Road:

Maria and blue tongue

(Yes, that would be a blue lollipop tongue:)

Brandy suited up

August 18th marked 23 years of them gone. It still doesn’t seem possible.

Lucky me to have had time I did with them, even if it was far too short.

Yet another girl bestie (can a girl really have too many besties? I don’t think so. Is it permissible to use the term “bestie” for your gal pals when you’re 39 years old? I think so), this one:

Sweet Katie

Sweet Katie

Today would be her 39th birthday, too. I wrote this on one of the days in this life where a piece of my heart forever broke.

Lucky me to have had time I did with her, even if it was far too short.

I will celebrate tonight with and for girls I can, and cannot see. I will celebrate tomorrow the same. (And with guys too!) I will continue to celebrate everyday. I will never apologize for laughing too loud, having too much fun. I won’t be worried about telling someone I love them, even if there are a lot of “them” (as in, people- that probably includes many of you reading this), because life is only so long, and the one thing I know for sure is that there’s no reason to wait…or to be afraid.

I hope you will raise a glass of any kind tonight, too with/for yourself, or with the good people around you, celebrating the luck in every healthy minute you have.

Cheers!

#RespectTheClock #TodayIsTheDay #HopToIt

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get out in it

I’m on the last leg of a long birthday weekend adventure. Delta was my flight brand this go around, and I’m pleased to share I’ve had an atypical flying experience this time; a pleasant one! The past few years have been met with a lot of bizarre rude humans and all too often, not so smiley airline staff, but all the Delta employees during my there and now almost back trek have been above and beyond friendly, helpful, and actually seem like they love their jobs.

Yahoo!

I saw this commercial on my way out west:

Click here for video link. 

Delta Commercial

I high-fived with the sweet cowboy sitting next to me after seeing it. We agreed it’s a fantastic ad.

…because the ones who truly change the world, are the ones who can’t wait to get out in it.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been big on that whole waiting thing.

What are you waiting for?

#WakeUp #StepOutside #HopToIt

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intention and execution

Some months ago after a goal-setting meeting with a friend who also works for herself, I went directly to the store to buy these two dry erase boards:

Intention Boards

They hang on the wall near my desk, and beside a bunch of things that inspire me like photos of my friends, family, travel, and a print my brother brought me back from Thailand for. Every day I write on them. The top one I use for anything and everything personal, and the bottom is for anything and everything professional. Any words, terms, thoughts, wishes…anything that pops into my mind. It usually takes me about 10 seconds to fill both of these boards. There’s nothing over-analytical about this practice, no perfect penmanship, no plan, just a quick flow of words and feelings.

Stay with me here. I’m not going to tell you to run out and join a drum circle. (Although that would be super fun.)

Since the day I started taking 10 seconds to actually WRITE down in the wide open of the space (literally and figuratively) I live in, exactly what I want- every, single, thing has either started to come to fruition, happened, become true, or dropped magically into my life. Even the unicorn I wished for.

Holding yourself accountable, um…to yourself, is a beautiful thing!

I’m the kind of girl who has set a lot of intention during my lifetime. I’m just not so sure before 2017, if I ever truly asked for what I’ve always known I’m worth. I feel like the doors have blown off my life in the best way, and only because at some point this year I put my foot down to stick up for my value. It all started with taking a tiny amount of time each morning with a dry erase marker.

Writing goals down and then spinning happily in your butterfly and rainbow party only gets you so far, though. The busting and showing your ass part is key. Without execution, intention is nothing. If you need a kick in the pants for whatever kind of existence you’re dreaming up, here’s a good start for this week:

*Write down what you want. (Even if it is as simple as chocolate.)

*Tell a stranger some deep dark secrets. (Yes, the dirty ones. We all have them. Let it fly, baby.)

*Laugh a little. (Like maybe too loud.)

*Remember where you came from. (You can run, but you can’t hide.)

*Get outside and get moving. (Can we play some more, please? Adults could really use to have a little more fun.)

*Learn something new. (Stretch yourself, embarrass yourself; Humble pie is delicious.)

*Ask for what you’re worth. (What have you got to lose?)

Set the loftiest goals you can imagine, and start running hard. The world wants all of you.

#TimeToHustle #TodayIsTheDay #LifeOutsisdeTheDroneZone

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when your mom gets you

In pops this on my phone from the amazing, selfless woman who gave me life:

Adventure travel

…along with “I saw this the other day and thought of you!” and a globe, airplane, and heart emoticon.

My Mother is so cute, and such a nerd. (See where I get it from?) I love that lady so much! The best is, she continues to encourage me to be exactly who I am and go for anything and everything I want.

I’m currently in Charleston at the beach on a client project that has been a big one and kept me all consumed the past few weeks and far away from computer and writing time. Oh my do I have some exciting things to share! BLR Play It Forward event news, upcoming travels, and a story of a random encounter with a person last night that totally blew my mind.

More than any other time in my life, this summer has proved to me 10 times over that if we stay open and authentic, spend time doing what we love, and share our experience and knowledge, the doors of opportunity will fly open.

When you take a step towards life, the universe responds.

I’m off to be dangerous. Won’t you join me?

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #Adventure #NeverStopExploring

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p(L)aying forward feels so good

It’s Thursday July 13th now, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what an incredibly powerful BLR Play It Forward weekend we had just a few days ago. It is always the most bittersweet day of my year.

I will have a full post coming soon with some of my favorite images, but in the meantime here are a couple that show what community and coming together to do something good looks like:

All hands in. BLR Play It Forward 2017

BLR Play It Forward Community Kick Wall Gift

Being a part of something bigger than myself that means something to so many people is by a landslide the best work I have ever done. Love, joy, and time together to celebrate memories is the most I could ever ask for in this life, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience that for 6 years in a row now. This is my team. The rest of the people who support us were all there too, just a few feet away. I’m always so honored to be in such wonderful company.

Thank you.

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #PlayForwardGiveBack

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still hearing laughter

I’m currently sitting in my travel office for this week; the counter at the Blue Benn Diner:

Blue Benn Diner

Blue Benn Diner

I can’t get enough of this place when I’m in my hometown for BLR Play It Forward week each summer, even though I miss my coffee buddy so much.

I arrived in Vermont late Sunday night, and have spent the last few days reconnecting with some of my favorite people, and putting the final touches on plans for our 6th annual event that kicks off on Friday night. Sometimes I have to pinch myself at how ridiculously gorgeous this place I grew up in, is:

Vermont Views

Mount Anthony - Bennington Battle Monument

That’s view of Mount Anthony and the Bennington Battle Monument above. I took this photo from the town park where we will reveal our community give back surprise on Saturday. To say I’m excited and proud is an understatement. I’m trying my best to keep things under wraps as we complete all parts and pieces, but I really want to shout from the green mountain tops about the all the good heart and effort so many people have put, into making this special gift happen. I know the families of our girls will love it.

Today this article was published in the Bennington Banner.

REMEMBER. CELEBRATE. LIVE.

It’s so important to remember where we came from, no matter how far we might go from “home.” Giving back is key. Celebrating each day, and the happy memories we have, honors those we might not be able to see in person anymore. Living, realizing today is the day, to go, be, see, and do, is how we respect the clock that doesn’t stop.

Much of this life is so bittersweet. As we carry our bruised hearts around each day, I hope the voices of laughter that remain will always inspire us to keep arms wide open.

#AlwaysLookingUp #PlayItForward #RespectTheClock

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good thing I had sunscreen on

I just spent the better part of 2 hours on a pier in the blazing sun talking to a dad (I’m guessing this guy was 60-ish) about his college-aged daughters, and travel. I was waiting to get on a boat for a cruise on the river where I’m staying and the boat was having some issues, so as we patiently stood there, we started the typical friendly conversation about the gorgeous weather and scenery.

York River Pier

(I took this photo last night looking back at some of the cottages from halfway down the pier right before sunset.)

Our chat quickly launched into who I was connected to here, and how long this friend (who invited me), and I have known each other. (I’m the only non-family member, mixed among generations upon generations of people who’ve come together in this 24 cottage community for 4th of July weekend for the past 90 years.) We talked about where I was from and that lead to me sharing I’m on a road trip north for Play It Forward. I mentioned that I love being on the water and that I just got back from a leadership development program where I learned how to surf. After excitedly telling him about my Nicaragua time like a kid telling her friend about a favorite toy she just got for Christmas, he shared that his older daughter is currently in NYC at an internship for photography and she loves to travel, too. This adorable proud dad told me all about his two girls who both started school in one place, decided they didn’t fit, moved to spots that fit better, started focusing more on what they’re each truly passionate about, and now seem to be well on their way, much happier in their lives.

Yeah!

There were about 50 people at the pier all around us, eating, drinking, swimming, socializing, getting on boats…the total summer scene. This man and I were so engrossed in this conversation, there could’ve been a fireworks display overhead and neither of us would’ve picked up our heads. He sweetly bragged details about his hard working kids, we collectively agreed that we wished travel was seen as more an investment in oneself, and I thanked him for being the kind of parent that would encourage and support his offspring to chase the things that light them up.

If you’re a parent reading this and you have a child (of any age) who feels a burn enough to speak up and tell you they’re not happy in their current school, life, whatever (even though they might think they’ll be an incredible disappointment to you)…please listen. Be the cheerleader along the way as they change what’s not working. Make sure they know you’ll love them even if they quit and start again 100 times, as long as they promise to always speak and live their truth.

Thanks, Mom!

#Travel #GoForIt #ConversationsFromTheRoad

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