Today Is The Day

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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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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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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my bluebird of happiness

In the fall of 2011, Honda sponsored a road trip for me. Honda fans voted on where to send me on my Blue Lollipop Road adventure and fortunately that included all east coast spots. That made it easy on me to pick up the car I got to drive in New Jersey, and also put me close to all things Northeast where I had an excuse to see some family and friends. I hadn’t seen this girl in years, but as soon as I dropped in out of nowhere, she was thrilled to host me in New Hampshire:

Play It Forward 2015

Lucky me.

(This photo was taken at BLR Play It Forward 2015.)

I remember sitting in Kate Emma’s living room after kids and hubby were in bed, talking about our friends and past memories of good times in high school. She made a suggestion that we should have a reunion soccer game, and that I host it. Neither of us had any idea what all of this would become next, but that one night of conversation would end up turning into something so much bigger and more powerful than we would ever imagine. Now here we are, about to kick off our 6th Annual BLR Play It Forward event.

As soon as I arrived back in Chicago (where I lived at the time) from my Honda trip, I got to work putting together this alumni soccer game idea, added in some community social events, and a travel scholarship fund. I keep in touch with a lot of people, but for whatever reason I had barely any connections to, or communication with old soccer friends at that time, and I sure as heck didn’t know how to go about starting a scholarship fund. This was one of those times when social media came in very handy. Finding alumni around the world I’d either never met or hadn’t talked to in years would’ve been nearly impossible otherwise.

I remember sitting in my apartment in Old Town on the 23rd floor right above Second City for HOURS and DAYS planning, planning, planning, and not coming up for air during the fall and winter of 2011/2012. I was clueless on all of it but I had never felt so sure about anything in my life, so I just kept calling, asking, messaging, and asking more, and I knew it would all work.

August 18th, 2012 was our first event, and it was by far the most incredible and bittersweet day of my life. I’ve never been able to put into words what that day felt like. All I know is it was this beautiful blur of celebration perfection for these two people who brought so much joy to the world. I’ve never felt sun on my face since, as warmly as I did at that moment we released those blue balloons in the sky after the game:

Balloons in the sky

Everyday since then, I always look up at the sky and clouds in a different way, reflecting on how lucky I am to have time with people who bring so much love and laughter to my life.

Two weeks from today will kick off our event once again. As I thought about writing this post when I woke up this morning, I remembered the hours I’d spend sitting at my desk planning this big dream we had. For those few months it was like everything else in the world disappeared and I was totally in my flow, completely present to what made me tick in every way. I would go to the gym downstairs in the morning for my booty shaking class, and straight back up to my apartment throwing my sweaty clothes in the laundry and wrapping myself in this beach towel I had that I often wore before hopping in the shower so I could send a quick email or make a quick call, etc. I cannot count the amount of times I’d look down at 9PM to find myself still wrapped in that towel, filthy and starving still sitting at my desk. I would jump up looking at the clock, grab a quick shower and fly out the door of my building to the Chipotle downstairs for a burrito before they locked the doors at 10PM.

Full circle:

Guess where I went this morning? Guess where I’m sitting right now? Guess how much time has passed today and I haven’t noticed because writing about Play It Forward and working on the last bit of push for this year is so my jam that hours fly by? Guess what I am wearing? Guess who still hasn’t taken a shower, and guess where I could run downstairs right now if I needed something to eat? Yes; booty shaking class, my desk, a lot, that same towel (Ok, maybe that’s gross, but I have washed it a lot so I don’t care:), me, and Chipotle. I’m just in a different city and it’s 6+ years later.

What does this mean to me? Everything. When you find that thing, that “place” where you could be hungry, tired, and the world could be swirling in chaos around you, and you wouldn’t even notice because you’re doing something that feeds your soul to the core, THAT is being inspired. It’s the power of Strong Mojo. I think that continuing to do that thing/those things throughout your life is key.

Play It Forward 2012:

Play It Forward 2012

Play It Forward 2012

2013:

Play It Forward 2013

Play It Forward 2013

2014:

Play It Forward 2014

Play It Forward 2014

2015:

Play It Forward 2015

Play It Forward 2015

and 2016:

Play It Forward

Play It Forward

…have been beyond special. I’ve experienced that people will show up when you stay inspired, believe in something bigger than yourself, and continue to share it. THE FIELD OF DREAMS IS REAL. Play It Forward is not me. It’s US. It’s the indefinable essence of magic when everything comes together perfectly. It is remembering where you came from, celebrating the memories you have, and living like today is the day.

I’m so lucky to have had such selfless support, help, and love, so I’m able to host this weekend each year. It would be absolutely impossible without all of you, so if you are reading this, thank you. We honor our friends in the best way possible by continuing to come together, and never taking a single day for granted.

Please join us July 7th & 8th!

Keep celebrating.

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #AlwaysLookingUp

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paying forward and getting so much back

I just returned from this amazing LeaderSurf program in Nicaragua where I learned a ton and was able to give back and share the blue lollipop Strong Mojo magic:

Blue Lollipop Road in Nicaragua

As I arrived home and plugged in, I discovered that Team Awesome (I just made that up) who includes my family, some alumni friends, and other perfect strangers from my hometown have been rocking and rolling with plans & construction on our community donation project for the 6th Annual BLR Play It Forward to be revealed on Saturday July 8th:

BLR construction project

People coming together, spending time doing good things for, or in honor of others feels incredible. My heart could explode!

I am 1,000 times more determined than ever to keep educating myself on everything I can, do work I’m passionate about, and to help lead others to do the same. This above is the stuff a full life is made of my friends! I am so thankful, inspired, and motivated by all this collaboration right now…happiness!

How are you sharing things that fire you up today?

#ServantLeadership #FollowYourPassion #RememberCelebrateLive

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attached to people, not things

I might have to start crediting my friend Michele for my whole life. (Kidding Mom and all my other amazing peeps, just trying to be funny here!) Michele is constantly sending news clips, tips, articles, blog posts, links- you name it, attached with “worth the read” or “read this!” notes. They are always on point with where my head is and what I’m interested in. Did I mention she introduces me to fabulous people too, and throws a damn good party? This woman is giving me a run for my money.

(I have to side note here that I’m just pinching myself at this point in life. I’m 38 and I’m surrounded by SO MANY incredible gal pals, near and far, who are just ridiculously badass and so good to me I can’t even believe it. I never thought girls could be this easy, fun, and no bs. My tribe rules! I LOVE YOU, LADIES!)

Anyway, this just popped in from Michele. She knows me well. A couple of my favorite lines:

~ “The best way to remember is to “DO.”

~ “Figure out the 10-15 things you want in your bag before you die tomorrow.”

~ “This is the problem with self-help books. They seem to be written by someone on a pedestal giving advice without having any blemishes.”

…but the best in this above article is his last question and answer.

Thanks for the read Michele! And all of them, always. And! To all I’m so lucky enough to have in my ultimate girl tribe, like 80 year-old Grazia:

Grazia Walker & Diane Peacock

…yes EIGHTY with that hot pink hair and fashion sense! – thank you for continuing to help me feel young and energized, so I can keep kicking all those doors to laughter and joy wiiiiiiiiiide open.

#NeverWaitForPermission #Freedom #FindYourTribe

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mile high lap dancing

Before getting on an airplane yesterday morning:

Plane Rides

…to a destination with warm sun and palm trees (yahoo!), and before knowing I’d be giving not one, but two free lap dances to that person in the middle seat who refused to actually get up and out for just a quick second so I could make it to my coveted window spot, I bought this book:

Jen Sincero

I’ve been eagerly waiting for this read. Jen Sincero is hilarious and I love her no bs writing style. Her last book made it to a favorites list that I posted about here back in the fall of 2015. I’ve managed to crank through a good amount of pages over the past 24 hours even though I’m still slightly disturbed about Middle Seat Molly not getting out of the way for me yesterday in flight. (You know what I’m talking about; Oh, ok. You’re not going to stand up, weirdo? Great. Awesome. Let me just desperately suck my whole body in as I best attempt to not touch any of my parts with your parts because there’s a whopping three inches to move in row 26. Thanks. I appreciate it. I hope you feel fabulous right now.)

Anyways.

My sweet little fine point Sharpie pen is off to the races:

Badass

Change is fun

No more excuses

Badass Book

I dig this book just as much as Jen’s last one. I recommend picking it up. Once again I’m slightly pissed at myself for not writing nearly as much as I want to, because I’m reading far too much lately I feel like I could’ve written myself.

Lessons for today?

1.) What the eff are you waiting for, again? (Yeah. That’s to both of us.)

2.) Take care of yourself before you attempt to take care of anyone else.

3.) If you have the middle seat, don’t act like there’s ever enough space for another human to scootch by. Get yo lazy ass up and let the people pass in peace.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

#LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #TodayIsTheDay #ChangeIsGood

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challenging

I have a new client who’s stuck. He’s completely capable, experienced, smart, kind, aware, etc., but something hasn’t quite clicked for him for his next phase. It’s all good, it happens, and usually a few times in a life span, reminding us that it’s time to pivot. I have full faith in what he will do, so I challenged him to set a goal with a completion date of April 25th. Then I threw myself in the mix of the challenge. If you’re going to ask someone else to do something, you should put your own money where your mouth is, right?

I had an epic sleep last night (yes, I know that word is incredibly overused, but it fits here, so?) which is pretty rare for me. I woke up feeling like a million bucks. As I got dressed for my run, I set a pretty big tall order kind of intention for my day. (Don’t roll your eyes! That stuff works, people!) Let’s just say there was a little extra pep in my step and I ran like the wind. (Ok, now this is getting really cheesy.)

Anyway, after run snapshot, the power of Diggidy:

Team In Training

(Ask me about this old nickname sometime if you want a good story.)

I’m convinced if EVERYTHING you wear/have/own/do in your life actually has some kind of meaning, things just feel better and flow better. This includes ratty old running clothes from a gazillion years ago like this jersey from my 2004 marathon in Phoenix.

This life ain’t easy as we have established many times here. As much as it’s up to us as individuals to kick our own asses each day to make things happen, shouldn’t we perhaps stick on this team in training, together?

This is #1, K! 9 more to go for me by 2 weeks from today. Hope you’re cranking on your end!

#CarpeDiem #TodayIsTheDay #GetIt

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remember, celebrate, live

I’ve always been known as the “energetic” one. That “Boy if you could bottle that energy and sell it, you’d be a millionaire!” gal. That friend that “we just can’t keep up with.” I don’t feel like a freak of nature, but sometimes I have to remind myself that in fact I’m not, when I hear the constant barrage of:

“I’d love to hang out, but I know you can stay up all night.”

“Good lord, where did you come from? How do you have all that energy?!”

“I’m sure YOU don’t need sleep, but I do.” 

Can’t a girl just be herself? It’s tough not to get a little insulted over here, when these “compliments” are regularly hurled at me. I have some very disappointing news:

I don’t stay up all night, I’m from a tiny town in Vermont, not space, I cannot explain how I have the energy I do (Mom, can you tell the people?), I actually need sleep like you, and no, I’m not a unicorn, Ewok, or other worldly being. I have shitty days. For instance, the other day I cried during a meeting with my accountant at Panera (yes, as in Panera Bread, in public), and it had nothing to do with finding out I’m not a billionaire. I already knew that and I don’t care. If you really want to know where the tears came from call me, (804.339.6514) I’ll share anything.

In an effort to solve the energy mystery right here, right now, after much reflection, I have come up this:

I CHOOSE TO CELEBRATE, PEOPLE. I AM JUST FREAKING CELEBRATING THAT I AM ALIVE.

Put that in your I’d rather stay miserable and quiet about it pipe and smoke it.

We’ve all been beaten into a life happens pulp. Do we need to recap on that again? So what do we do about it? Stay in the drone zone, or wrap our wounds with whatever we’ve got left, own and accept our crap, and drag our asses out of bed everyday in the never ending search for those few last tiny beautiful things that are left?

I refuse to wait for a weekend or big event to wear my sassy shoes:

Sassy Shoes

(This photo was taken on a Tuesday after stopping into my friends office to have coffee. I think that’s all I got dressed for that day.)

…I don’t say no to invitations to road trip to beautiful places with good friends:

Amelia Island

…I don’t save treats for only special occasions:

Dessert With Dom

…I always play like a kid and jump for joy at sunset:

Sunset Jumps

…and while things are often better shared with good company, (and oh my do I love a lot of humans!) If it’s 86 degrees on a random Tuesday in March like this week, I’m not afraid to sit outside at a picnic table to enjoy an after work beer in the warm and sunshine, alone:

Beer at a picnic table

I don’t have too much energy. I JUST ALLOW MYSELF TO BE ALIVE BECAUSE I AM, and I fully plan to continue celebrating the bleep out of this life while I have it.

I’ve never asked anyone to be like me and I would never dare. You do you, dudes and gals, quiet, loud, whatever you are…I accept all of you! You’re always invited to my party over here, but if this sparkly blue lollipop is “too much” for you, please walk on. I’m only interested in those fellow tribe members who might roll their eyes or shake and scratch their heads a little, but simultaneously are thrilled about getting smothered in glittery, energetic, life-celebrating love as we run down this steep, wondrous, rocky road together.

I’m off to my Friday morning dance party. I’ll see you and Beyonce in the soul train line…

#ShineBright #TodayIsTheDay #LessMiseryMoreLaughsHappyLife

*(This post is dedicated to everyone in my tribe (I LOVE YOU GUYS, you know who you are, but particularly Maria, Brandy, Leslie, Katie, Sam, Joe, and Grapa. I will forever be inspired to keep smiling and dancing because of you.)*

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