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.
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:
*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
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:
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
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:
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.
(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.
(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
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!
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:
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:
(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:
Because we think it’s important to work hard and celebrate even harder, we did just that on one special day:
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!
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
I don’t know how swanky your job is, but mine often looks like this:
Since my last post, nearly 2 months ago (how the heck does 2 months later always happen?), I have been BIZ-EEE. If I had small children, they may have been starved by this point. I really don’t know how moms and dads do it all. Hats off once again, to all you parents in the world for keeping yourselves clothed and fed (let alone other small humans), while you work, and do a zillion other things.
The above photo shows me attempting to pull myself up from the dark pantry bottom shelf floor of a client home last week. Those clients took their 2 young kiddos off on a cross-country road trip to their new home in Texas, and I wrapped up everything for them in North Carolina. I’m often the last one to walk through, the last set of eyes on each corner or drawer, and the one who hands the keys in, to a place where lots of memories were made. I love my job.
This past several weeks during the spring client move madness, I haven’t slept much, and social time has been fairly limited. Balance? Not really. It’s been go, go, go, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. My friend Aaron:
“I’d rather work 80 for myself, than 40 for someone else, any week of my life.”
I agree. The hustle is not glamorous, but at the end of the day if I’m still smiling and helping people get to the life they want, that’s all the fancy I ever need. Thumbs up!
Here’s to showing up, getting dirty, and knowing you make a difference.
#LoveYourWork #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #AlwaysLookingUp
Spring has sprung (finally!) and I’m on a roll with downsizing and minimizing mania. All the clients I have right now are my absolute favorite kind; the ones making big changes and getting rid of the things that are weighing them down and holding them back from doing what they really want to do.
We are purging homes full of things that bring stress, no longer have use, or are unnecessary. We’re getting lives either back on track or starting new chapters.
DID YOU KNOW IT’S NEVER TOO LATE?
Baby…you’ve got all the choices in the world!
One of my current clients is 52 years old, and has raised kids who are now off on their own and thriving. She’s caught grief from family and friends about her major downsize and move to the big city from a teeny one. Are they jealous, or just projecting their fear on her? Either way, she’s happy as a college kid about to graduate, so I’m over here jumping out of my skin thrilled to help her. It’s not easy peasy to grow up and stay in the same town most of your life, then make a jump for the big guns with both feet in…but it is so possible.
(I love being cheesy in anticipation of these blog posts to give you a good laugh. That’s me in action last week during a 16 hour day. Nice and glamorous, exhausted and dirty. Just how I like it.)
At first, my clients grumble about starting these seemingly overwhelming projects, but when we get rolling and this happens:
…the lighter, more free feelings rush in, and oh the celebrations we have!
Here’s what I can tell you for sure if you’re thinking about downsizing:
1.) You’ll wonder why you didn’t “do this sooner.” (A direct quote from every, single, last client I have ever worked with.)
2.) Your kids don’t want your stuff. (Sigh, I know your heart is broken, but the China cabinet from great granny is going to get sliced in half and painted white or Agreeable Gray at best. Likely to be used to put a flat screen TV on. More likely to be thrown in a bonfire. Happens all time. Right now your kids are out with your grandbabies and the dog at a craft brewery, eating dinner off paper plates from a food truck. Yes, even on a Tuesday night.)
3.) You will not for one single minute ever remember, or be miffed that you donated or sold whatever item you thought you might die without. (That old winter coat, the couch, or that ceramic plate you served Johnny’s 1st birthday cake on.)
Since I was a wee-little stubborn girl, I’ve always thought that retirement and living simply “later” was a most ridiculous concept. Work your fingers to the bone for years on end, save up all this money and time in hopes that it will be served on a silver platter back to you while you still have your eyesight, and THEN go enjoy doing things you love with the people you love?!
Silly! Let’s downsize and retire NOW…no matter how old we are.
Let’s make smart choices buying only what we absolutely need, use, and love. If we are living a little too big and bleeding out money, let’s assess, reel it back in, and pivot in a new more efficient direction. Let’s stop and prioritize things like health, friends, family, and whatever else makes you scream, Yahtzee!
Toll Brothers has invited me back again to speak about downsizing at one of their new communities! Come join me this Thursday night if you are in the Charlotte area. If you’re far away, you can invite me to where you are and I will gladly road trip (you know I love those!) to talk to your group about my Less Stuff More Freedom Happy Life movement.
Today is the day. What are you waiting for?
#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #RespectTheClock #MoreExperiencesLessStuff
Ben & Jerry’s FREE CONE DAY! I had to get a photo of the 40th Annual poster on the window as we waited in line:
Not surprisingly, the place was packed, but the line moved fast. The wait gave me just enough time to play around with a magnet board meant for the kiddos:
Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz and Chocolate Therapy, please!
(See what we did with the cone wrappers there?:)
It’s nearly 8PM now, so this glorious ice cream give back event will be over by the time I press publish, but don’t worry, it’ll be be back again. In the meantime, grab yourself a pint of your favorite flavor at the grocery store. You can cozy on up with your buttercup, and listen to the great story of Ben Cohen & Jerry Greenfield, and how they started their delicious frozen empire on NPR’s How I Built This.
We love you, Ben & Jerry! Thanks for loving us back and showing it.
#DoGood #GiveBack #CelebrateEveryday
And just like that…poof! There goes another month. Time flies too fast.
I spent the first month of 2018 celebrating and sharing here, and the second, not sharing here. Don’t fret my loves, I’ve still been having a lots of fun! I’ve been celebrating things like helping to get client donations to women and children coming out of domestic violence situations:
(Doing good feels so good! Thank you to so many people who volunteer their time to help others!)
…waking up in beautiful places and sipping coffee on balconies:
…uber windy chilly afternoons on the beach:
…purging and packing for cross country client moves:
(Remember, PURGE BEFORE YOU RELOCATE! Why in the world would you want to spend your hard earned money on moving a bunch of stuff you no longer need/use/want? There are so many more fun ways to spend your cash, like on cheese, the waterpark with your kids, coffee, a concert with your lover, or that mani/pedi you need to take a few minutes to yourself, for:)
Now let’s continue the celebrating with throwing a surprise birthday party for a friend:
(Like bubbly? Fill a flute 80% Prosecco or Cava, and the rest with grapefruit. Fresh grapefruit is best, but bottled will do, too. Yum!)
Equality now and forever! (You do you, girl, boy, or whatever word/term/name/thing that suits you/you feel like you want to rock out.)
…a little bit of road trippin’ for Carolina Blue basketball:
…and food! Oh how I love cooking and feasting with amazing people…one of the best ways to spend time:
Crunchy french toast! Roll your egg-battered bread through corn flakes and voila…french toast kicked up a notch. Especially with Schoolhouse Maple syrup, made by my friends. It doesn’t get better than this, and sugaring season now. Mmm. (Yes! You can order some here.)
2 months down in 2018, 10 more to go, and some really fantastic things are on the horizon. This Blue Lollipop Road party isn’t going anywhere, so be prepared to keep those sunglasses on, because the light is shining bright, baby. Whether you celebrate in quiet or out loud and proud, it’s all about taking a minute to appreciate simple things…every…single…day.
Today is the day. What are you waiting for?
#EverydayAdventures #LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #RememberCelebrateLive
Hi there. If you haven’t been here before, welcome to the celebration. This is day 32. For the year 2018, anyway.
I love the bubbles there. They’re extra special with good company, too. Life is about celebrating everyday, right? And the people. Yes. The ones you love and those who make you laugh.
I don’t think we celebrate enough. I think we wait until it’s often too late. I think we’ve made a bad habit out of “saving up” for the perfect time or chance to live like we are actually alive.
The clock is ticking. When will we learn?
I do my best to work and practice what I preach by getting all fired up and excited about small, silly, insignificant things everyday, and taking anyone who let’s me, along for the ride. Kid in a candy store baby, it’s the only way to be while all the sweetness is there for the taking. When we practice having more gratitude, we have less attitude, and a helluva lot more fun.
So about this whole “celebration” thing?
Since meeting Noah Scalin years ago at an event where he shared his Skull-A-Day art project, I’ve been a little obsessed with doing my own 365 project. I attempted one in 2014 and it lasted for a bit over two months. This year I’m determined to go all the way for 2018, filling your inboxes with funny, strange, head-scratching things each day that I’m having a little party (celebration) about. I hope you will continue to follow along, and think a little more about feeling the thrill of at least one little ridiculous awesome thing everyday, too. (Scroll down to the bottom of my webpage and sign up for daily email notifications if you haven’t already.)
When we do things that make us happy, we stay unstuck, when we are not stuck, we are more badass, when we are badass, we take life by the you know what’s and don’t wait for damn permission from anyone to do whatever the heck we want.
Did you know you have the choice to do whatever the heck you want?
CELEBRATE! DO IT UP! TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE.
This Blue Lollipop Road was inspired by a couple of crazy joyful girls who didn’t care what day it was, they lived like they meant it. I will always be inspired to do the same. Today I celebrate making the choice to celebrate. Staying happy is a practice. Lace up, buttercup, and get in the game. The whistle just blew and it’s go time…
How are you going to start celebrating more?
#StartDriving #LifeUnstuck #TodayIsTheDay
*Feeling stuck as a pig in a pit? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.