I’m sitting outside in the quiet green mountain space of Vermont, after getting back from a hot sunny run down the dusty back roads I grew up on:
It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 years since our first BLR Play It Forward weekend. A high school alumni women’s soccer reunion that started out inspired by some very special friends, has expanded over time to be that, plus a homecoming each July where so many other community members young and old, have joined our group for some fun, and to celebrate life.
After I pressed publish on my last post, proclaiming myself as a “minimalist, childless, single gal from Vermont with a nomadic heart” – I got a little tease from my parter in crime:
“So you’re a single gal now, eh?”
“Well, we aren’t married…yet!” I said, laughing and teasing him back. “When I fill out forms that ask marital status, I check single. That’s all I meant!”
Lucky me, I get to share my life of adventure with this guy, who always makes me smile as big as the sun:
…the one who’s always the best sport about everything, everyday, even being game to rip up the dance floor because he knows how much I love it:
…the one who always makes me feel like I’m home:
J and I met almost 2 years ago, totally unexpectedly, on a very special weekend. A weekend that means the most to me. That same year a group of us put up a wall. The kind of wall that brings people together:
Strong Mojo is the indefinable essence of magic, when everything comes together perfectly.
Do you believe? I sure do.
Lead with love. Do work you love. You might just run into a whole lot you didn’t expect, that’ll make you smile as big as the sun for the rest of your days.
I just read this article a friend posted on her Facebook feed, then sent it to someone I thought it would be helpful to, for a project he’s working on. After the link in the email, I added:
Some people like stuff, and a lot of times, stuff does tell stories. I however, hate stuff, and I’d rather be the one telling stories, but either way, we can all get along…
Being a minimalist, childless, single gal from Vermont with a nomadic heart, and because I’m in the business of helping people get unstuck, I’ve been accused of:
1.) Suggesting everyone burn everything they own.
2.) Eating granola 3 meals a day.
3. Wanting all the people around me to move into a tiny house.
Laughing? You didn’t get the memo that all “hippies” from states like Vermont who don’t find it particularly fun or comforting to shop or have large living spaces, must think anyone else who could possibly like Target, or reside in more than 200 square feet is a terrible person? I’m laughing too. Yes, ridiculous, and certainly not the opinions I share.
Some of my besties have the biggest houses I’ve ever been in, and peruse through Home Goods like it’s their job. Some have shelves littered with books, and tchotchkes like your favorite auntie, or garages full of gear, and some could have thriving careers in interior design their spaces look so amazing with all the stuff they’ve collected. In fact, the person’s feed I took this article from is one of those longtime friends who every place she’s ever lived in, has been filled with beautiful decor floor to ceiling in each room, perfectly fit to her personality and experiences from her adventurous life. The kind of spaces you walk in to that transport you to a far of land and make you want to ask a zillion questions about everything you see. I love these homes, but I don’t want to live in them. These people wouldn’t want to live in my home, either.
Isn’t it great that we all have the choice to live exactly how we want?
A recent client was in her home 30 years, and she was more than ready to downsize from over 3,300 square feet:
Whether you’re a maximalist or a minimalist; YOU DO YOU. Figure out what lifestyle you want, and go for it. Time waits for no one, so whether you spend your 365 days a year in the same pair of shorts and live in a van so you can have the freedom to roam, whether you redecorate your McMansion every season to be the place with the capacity and currency to host all the people you love, or anything in between, use your time wisely enough that you still have a little bit left to celebrate every day.
Hi there. It’s been a while. Almost 3 months, actually. As I’ve been busy working with clients to help them better manage their time, space, and money, (lifestyle), I’ve been guilty of not taking enough time for myself to do what I love the most…be right here. Pretty ironic, eh?
I spent years traveling alone. I’m a big huge fan of solo time. Silent time. Ahhh…the time when nothing is beeping or dinging. That place where you can just breathe, and become more of yourself. Quality time. Think about it, how much quality time have you gotten with yourself, your work, or your family, lately? These days, we even take our phones to the bathroom. Hello, 24/7 plugged in, even when (ahem) are bodies are trying to unplug themselves. Sheesh.
It’s a little much.
Welcome to the spinning club. The place where you snap at your partner, don’t run outside and play with the kids anymore, where your pants are getting tighter because who has time for the gym, and by the time you pick up that magazine you wanted to read front to back, you realize the date says November, 2018 when it’s May, 2019. We are overwhelmed, and have no idea how we got there. We are so burned out, at both of those candle ends, we want to just snap it over our knee.
Pass the tequila! Nah, that’s not a good idea.
I learned long ago, that whenever I start feeling like a total brat, and I want to punch someone, or something in the face, I need to get the hell outta Dodge. Dodge for me means my apartment/city/routine. I’m not the kind of gal who punches people or things, so when the mighty beast fist starts clenching, I know it means…pack your bags, sister, and run for the border.
When’s the last time you wanted to punch someone or something in the face? Do you even have any idea about what you might need when you’re about to lose it on that poor grocery store clerk for simply asking how your day was?
I’ve been at a lake for a few days now, on a private road that’s not even state maintained. The only sounds have been birds, and an occasional boat. Heavenly. I’ve showered daily, but only put a bra on to go to the grocery store, and I really have zero desire to go back to the rat race. Not because I don’t love going to the gym, helping clients, connecting with friends, working my tail off, attending swanky events, sporty events, and educational events, or wearing bras…but because I know all too well how easy it is to get sucked into that gerbil wheel that makes us all a little crazy from time to time.
So what do we do when the peaceful breaks at lakes are replaced with honking horns and stress levels boiling to a million degrees when the rat race start gun goes off?
We just stop. That’s what we do…
…and start again when we have our quality head screwed on straight.
It’s Saturday afternoon. We’ve just finished up another project helping a client take back control of their life, and I’m finally having a few quiet minutes at my desk. Shocker I’m thrilled to have some time to read articles about lifestyle and minimalism that have popped in my inbox recently. I’m adopting the following as the quote of my month of February. It makes me cheer and imagine high-fiving all the soon-to-be clients I will repeat it to:
“Never underestimate the importance of abandoning crap you don’t need. It has the power to change your life dramatically.”
We helped this client abandon a LOT of crap. No, her lifelong items bought with hard-earned money were not garbage, but they were things she no longer needed/wanted/used, and they were holding her back from moving on to the next adventure in life she wants to be on. So? We said peace out, crap! as we waved goodbye and thank you to the donation truck and driver from AMVETS.
(Did I mention how much we love our clients and they become like family?)
Circling back to today…
I just texted one of the realtors I work with and told him the first thought that popped in my head the instant my eyes opened this morning was I wonder if the donation truck has picked up the items from the house yet. The house I’m referring to is the one we prepped for market ready this week. Photos are being taken on Monday, and the house is officially up for sale next weekend. Most people on a Saturday morning would be waking up thinking of coffee, a honey-do list, kids sports games to get to, or who’s turn it is to cook the bacon. My 24/7 thoughts are constantly trying to come up with more ideas on how I can help those around me abandon more crap, so they can seamlessly get to where they’re trying to be.
Can you imagine trying to wake up and get dressed and out the door to your job, or get your kids off to school after walking into your closet looking like this?
If you can’t find your socks, how can you find your sanity in this busy life?
The above photos are from the Blue Lollipop Road collection of before and after. In this case, the “after” aren’t even fully complete, but you get the idea. The before are the reason I wake up thinking about abandoning crap and donation trucks. They also make my head hurt thinking of how stressed I’d be if that was the closet I attempted to dress myself in on a daily basis. No wonder why everyone in America is beeping and angry by the time they reach the Starbucks drive through at 7:30AM Monday – Friday.
IF YOU HAVE LESS CRAP. YOU HAVE LESS CRAP TO MAINTAIN.
Luxury Home builder, Toll Brothers has asked me to come for a 3rd time to host a downsizing seminar for their prospective and recent home buyers. Tomorrow (Saturday February 8, 2019) I will be at their Regency at Palisades location, just outside of Charlotte, NC. I was at this property last year and LOVED it. During my first visit, I asked the ladies in the office, Is this where our parents move to have more fun than we do?! Pool, golf, club house with chef’s kitchen, tennis and bocce courts, massage therapist, fitness center, and more…and all on site? Yes, please. This community is designed for an active lifestyle. (Didn’t you know 60 is the new 30?)
So what happens tomorrow? I will casually sit and have a conversation in the gorgeous open living room/kitchen/dining area one of the model homes. I’ll advise on how to declutter a lifetime of “stuff,” and plan for a path to more freedom and fun. The Palisades homes are not tiny homes, they’re between 1,700 – 2,400 square feet. Downsizing doesn’t mean living in zero space, it means living simple so you can DO more. It means clearing the chaos from your life, so you have MORE time, space, and money. It means stepping out of the Drone Zone, and getting unstuck.
For anyone who thinks working for yourself would be awesome, you’re right. If you think after you start, you’ll also:
Have easy as pie days
Always wear pretty things
Sleep 8+ hours a night
Actually be done when you walk out the door
I’m on a 10 day straight run of work like mad, time crunch, let’s get this house on the market now, I’ll sleep later, run. Just 2 more days before break time.
Have it any other way? No, thanks. As my friend Aaron says, I’d rather work 80 for myself any week, before I work 40 for someone else.
AMEN! (And also, we spent the holidays in the Caribbean, so being the boss means you get to choose when to burn the candle at both ends at work, then relax while you light one on the table next to you at the beach as you sip on a corona:)
We finished up a 5,000 square foot purge, organize, and stage to sell in Charlotte, NC last week, then Team BLR directly road tripped up to VA for a much smaller 1,700 square foot home project, filled with lots more than the bigger one had. (Yes! We LOVE to travel to clients. From Texas to Tokyo…we can do it! Call us. We will come to YOU anywhere.) Let the open all drawers and closets, and SEE everything, begin! You’ve got to make a mess, before you make it better. (That’s with everything in life, right?)
(In case you missed above, yes, this is the glamorous uniform I sport in my “office” each day.)
Whoa. Lots of stuff! Intimidated? Never. We aren’t done with this current project yet, but here’s a good idea of a before and after:
This is only just taking off/out/away the piles, and coverings, and repurposing furniture around the house. We snapped this quick photo before we ran out the door tonight, and might change things around another 10 times, but oh the freedom of light, space, and what’s already there to stage if you don’t have the money/time/need to stage with furniture brought in!
The best feeling is that we know this client we are working with on this downsize, will soon move closer to her grown kids, grand kids, have less to maintain/less work to keep up with around her next smaller space, and she’ll be able to relax and have more time to do what she loves.
Ok, better hop in the shower and put on something other than my BLR sweatshirt and old jeans so I can get out for date night dinner, all fresh and clean, with my partner in crime. I’m not sure he’s seen me in anything but that uniform in quite some time…
I had a BlackBerry Pearl when everyone else had an iPhone, until I moved Charlotte because I loved it. (Nerd!) I don’t look nearly as cool as the other girls and guys in their all matching ultra planned out fresh new get ups at the gym because I still wear old soccer, and other favorite shirts I love that I’ve hacked up with scissors:
…and I drive a car that’s 15 years old and has 260k on it, because I love, love, love it. I’ve never thought of myself as way ahead of the curve or super trendy, but turns out I am! I’ve only and always ever kept/owned things that I love and make me happy.
This Marie Kondo life-changing trend of joy and magic sweeping the universe since her book a few years back and the tidal wave obsession her advice has created over the last couple weeks since her show Tidying Up starting airing on Netflix has me saying, REALLY!?! like Seth & Amy. When was it EVER a good decision to keep/have any things (or people) in our lives that don’t bring us joy? I thought everyone got that memo long ago.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to think this make sure joy sparks when you see/touch/feel everything you own mayhem happening will have me seeing less eye rolls from clients when I remind them you only have only 4 burners on your stove so how many frying pans can you really use?! and more high-fives & fist pumps as we purge, baby, purge the excess crap that’s burying them, en route to their freedom. But! For a gal like me who’s been living on her bright blue lollipop soapbox proudly labeled LESS STUFF, MORE FREEDOM, HAPPY LIFE…for years, I’m starting to wonder if I need to morph myself into an adorable tiny zen Japanese woman to get people to truly tune in.
Seriously though, if this cute little doll faced woman is what it takes for the world to start thinking about how they actually feel each day, and what they really want out of life, then address those most important to-do’s…I shall bow to the queen of “tidying.” Keep it up, sister!
While Marie jet sets the globe sparking joy in homes rolling t-shirts and filing papers, I’m going to keep lighting fires under asses of people that are ready to start fresh by setting their whole “place” up in controlled burn style flames.
GO TEAM DIANE MARIE! (Marie is actually my middle name:)
It’s a new year, and high time to sort out, kick out, or throw out any and all that makes you feel stuck, suffocated, or like crap. If you need someone to light your ass on fire, call me! (Seriously…call me at 804.339.6514, email Diane(@)bluelollipoproad.com, or send a message on my contact page.) I will Marie Kondo (ahem, Diane Peacock), the flip out of your life.
No more waiting.
We chose to spend the holidays in the Caribbean, because we’ve committed to wasting as little time, space, and money as possible, so we can do things like this.
I came to a coffee shop this afternoon to write about a few books I studied on physical and emotional clutter this weekend, but upon my arrival, this text popped in, so I had to pivot:
Another human who has stepped out of the Drone Zone, and I was able to help. (The Drone Zone is that place where you stay…even though you don’t want to, while you live, work, or play, as a silent, hurting, walking zombie, who’s soul feels crushed every minute of the day.) Sounds dramatic, but it is real. I warn people about hanging out with me personally or professionally, because I’m usually the one to say something like Then why the hell are you doing it?! Let’s make a plan and get you the heck outta dodge! I expect the same from people who give a hoot about me. Often there are tears, or someone gets pissed at the other for being brutally honest, but everything evens out. The truth is one tough, and not so delicious cookie most of the time.
Humans are killing themselves. LITERALLY KILLING THEMSELVES, because they feel stuck, and unsupported in making change. Just last week within 2 days, I heard about 3 (THREE!) friends of friends who committed suicide. THREE you guys. The sadness that runs through me for all the people that love those people makes me want to throw up.
I don’t have the answer….but I’ve always thought that at the most simple level, if you’re walking this earth on any given day feeling just blah, thinking that someone or everyone at any and every minute would judge you for quitting or changing (your job, your wife, your hobbies, your friends, etc.)- any of us (this includes us “happy,” productive ones who have oodles of friends and family), could quickly end up in very, very dark places.
There’s no better feeling to me, than guiding someone (friend or client), to run fast and furious out of their Drone Zone, and seeing them fly. The person above reached out to me several months ago. She was suffering in her job, but felt obligated to stay. She had well given it her all, and yet still felt guilt (totally normal) about leaving. I assured her that nothing was worth torturing herself, but if she wanted to keep pushing, to just please make sure when it crossed the line of soul-crushing to call me, and I’d be right there to help her game plan a respectful and healthy exit.
And I was, and she did, so we met this weekend. And then she quit her job today. And I am so damn happy for her.