News & Updates

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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BLR PLAY IT FORWARD 2016 KICKS OFF TONIGHT!

Here we go year #5!

Doing good feels good with all the bad and sad news in the world. Tonight we will kick off our 5th Annual event starting at 7pm at Ramunto’s with our Welcome Back Party:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

Ramunto’s will donate 10% of all sales from anyone joining us, back to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund! Come one and all for craft beer, wine, great pizza, lots of specials and fun! 7pm until ?

Tomorrow we will award scholarship funds, play some soccer, the kiddos will do a fun run at halftime of the game, and we will have Celebration Cocktails to wrap the weekend at Pangaea Lounge. Pangaea will also donate 10% of all sales from anyone who joins to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund. They’ve whipped up a special menu of BLR inspired craft cocktails, too. Yum…

ALL ARE WELCOME FOR EVERYTHING! Bring yourself, your lover, your friends, your dog, your kiddo’s, your former coach, neighbor, grandparents, and whoever else you can think of. THIS IS A COMMUNITY EVENT. (Rain or shine!)

Three cheers for the Bennington Banner and writer Adam Samrov who put out this article about our event, today. Thank you, Adam!

Want to get involved, donate/sponsor, or have a question? Great! See event info. here, or call/email Diane:

804.339.6514

Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com

See you this weekend!

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #PlayForwardGiveBack

 

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mia

Today is Wednesday April 20, 2016 and hey hey hey…here I am!

You didn’t think that I’d leave you, did you? Give up? Disappear?

Never.

I can’t tell you what’s been happening yet- but I’ve been working on an experiment you’d probably never expect. (Me either, but it was time), so that’s where I’ve been. Sometimes we’ve got to lean on back (big time) to move forward.

In other news, our 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event is fast approaching! Just a couple months from now, we will be in the green mountains of Vermont celebrating life, people, and time together. Mark your calendars for the weekend of July 9th!

Stay tuned, more soon…

#TrySomethingDifferent #StopWorryingStartLiving #Surprises

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things that fill my heart

Today is March 9, 2016 and that means it is exactly 4 months until the 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event in Vermont.

WHOOP! 5TH ANNUAL! 

In 2011 when we (a couple of my amazing alumni soccer soul sisters from back in the day) came up with the idea for an alumni soccer game which then turned into a full-scale community event and scholarship fund, I spent months in my Old Town Chicago apartment, floor 23 overlooking The Second City entrance, in my pajamas trying to figure out how to make it all happen. I remember some days I’d go to the gym for an 8 or 9am class, come back home all sweaty and yucky, wrap myself in a towel intending on getting in the shower, and start working only to find it to be 8 or 9pm and myself sitting there, 12 hours later stinky, starving, and still working. It’s kind of amazing how time flies when you’re in your zone working on something you’re so incredibly passionate about. I’d eventually shower, and often times take the elevator downstairs to Chipolte (which was in the same building as The Second City across the street), get a veggie burrito, sometimes a beer and by 10pm be eating my one meal of the day on my couch in quiet. Rinse and repeat this is how those few spring months of 2012 went before our first big event happened on August 18, 2012.

Check this out! I just found a photo of my little desk area in that great high rise apartment I had:

BLR work space

Small work space that cranked out some dreams. I can’t even remember what I used for a chair! Not fancy. It didn’t matter. Boy those are good memories. This scene is where Play It Forward was born. To this day, my best work and what I am most proud of.

I’ve got buckets of photos from 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 – but I will share just one from each year for space sake for today.

2012, balloon release in honor of our friends to kick off the inaugural event:

BLR Play It Forward 2012

All hands in before game, 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

The Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship award, 2014:

Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship

Me and “Mr. B” last summer, 2015 – one of our most loyal fans and supporters, cheering us on each year in his same white t-shirt:

Mr. B and I

(That sweet guy was my 6th grade teacher!)

There’s no way I could share here, all the photos and words I have that would illustrate properly the amazing impact we make. This day is so special you have to be there to believe it. (I hope whoever you are reading this, you will join us this summer in some kind of capacity!)

On July 9, 2016 we will once again come together to reconnect, reminisce, play soccer, cry together, laugh together, and give back. I already know it will as usual, be my favorite day of the year. A bittersweet day in this “brutiful” life, where nothing else matters other than coming together to remember, celebrate, and live.

What do you do, to make sure you never forget where you came from?

#RememberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo

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Furniture

shop blr

In helping my clients downsize, organize, move/relocate, and make those general life transitions happen, I often end up with bunches of like-new/great shape furniture they need or want to get rid of.

So of course I’ve created a Facebook page, called Shop BLR.

A few pieces of business attached to the Shop BLR page:

1.) If you happen to be on the search for a particular item, please let me know! I will add you to my match up list and keep eyes and ears peeled for you for when the perfect piece pops up.

2.) It would be swell if you would “Like” and share the page. (Thank you:)

3.) I add new items each week so make sure to check back regularly.

Being green, saving money, and having gently used furniture in your home is awesome! Investing a bit of DIY love into older items is awesome! Having only pieces you love in your living space is awesome.

Most importantly, if you or anyone you know has household or furniture items you’d like to simply donate, I have partnerships with some AMAZING nonprofits that help kids, women from domestic violence situations, and Veterans. I’d love to match you up and make sure any unneeded items go to people who can use them!

Questions? Drop me a line:

Diane(@)bluelollipoproad.com

804.339.6514

#LessJunkMoreDoingGoodHappyLife #Upcycle #GetCrafty

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Live simple. Do more.

Freedom!

Hello, hello and welcome to the all-new Blue Lollipop Road!

I am SO EXCITED (did I mention excited?) about not just a fresh and different look for my site, but for finally  sharing about a huge shift I’ve been focusing on for a while now.

First I have to give huge props to my branding company, Big Ring, for taking 7+ years of everything I’ve worked so hard on and putting it in to an online presence that looks amazing! I’m happy to report all the photos you see throughout Blue Lollipop Road are my own, nothing stock photo here, just all from years in travel and everyday life. The photos we chose to use from my archive of about 10,000, are some of my all-time favorites. If they give you any sense of freedom or feeling that anything is possible, then we have done our job!

So onto this new BLR:

You will see freedom as a theme throughout this new site and everything in my work. Many conversations I had during my years on the road over coffee or dinner with friends or strangers, and now in home base life have the same theme; people feeling like they just don’t have enough time, space or money (translation – freedom) to do things like:

A.) What they really want to do for work or a hobby.

B.) Spend time with family or friends.

C.) Work out.

D.) Travel.

E.) Go back to school.

Many, many more.

This great world is spinning and we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off because there somehow ends up being so much to do and think about in a day. I’ve never understood why it always seems to take some kind of tragedy, for us to slow down and think about what really matters, so I created a business that helps people take back time, space, and money so they can do more of what they love. That’s what life is supposed to be about, right?

This means I work with people in any kind of transition, or ready to make a change; Everyone from people moving/relocating, for work (managing everything from moving company to handyman and all in between), for fun, or for things not so fun, (Divorce, death in family), to people who are busy with their careers and kids who’s homes have become cluttered and need reorganizing, to people who want to downsize and live simpler, to people who need to reassess their baseline bills (when’s the last time you checked to see if your bank offers a lesser interest rate or why the cable company is charging you hundreds of dollars for basic cable and internet services?), to people who need systems implemented to make their homes function better, to people to want to make a huge life shift (quit job/start a business/start training for a marathon…), to people needing family vacation plans made, to people wanting to sell no longer needed furniture because they are remodeling, moving, or have just sent the last kid off to college.

All those kinds of projects and more.

I facilitate and manage whatever chaos and busy is going on and help you put healthy breathing room back into your life.

And I make the super stressful times, fun.

Boom!

When clients write or call to tell me they could focus on work because they knew I was taking care of everything with their corporate relocation, or when they tell me they are now working out regularly and cooking with their kids because they could find the cook books, or that they have time to actually go to the gym because they feel more organized in their space, it makes me happy. Like clap up and jump up and down happy. It’s like being able to gift a sense of freedom, balance, and perspective for at least a moment, or a day in this big world of madness swirling around us.

I love it!

I hope reading this post and meandering through my spankin’ new pretty site makes you feel like you have a little extra pep in your step to go for that thing, that person, or that moment you’ve been missing. Let’s live simple, and do more of what we love and with who we love. If you have a hard time getting there yourself, call me. I’d love to help you get rid of the physical, financial, or personal “stuff” that’s weighing you down. We can tackle your busy beast/lift your burdens/exorcise your demons.

Life is short. Freedom awaits.

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #LiveSimpleDoMore #TodayIsTheDay

PS ~ Please scroll down to the bottom of this page and sign up to get my blog posts via email! I will be regularly posting great tips & tricks on how to live simple and do more- and of course continuing to share about how I make adventure in my everyday:)

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today is the day; play it forward 2015

Huge thanks to The Bennington Banner for this article about our event today!

Play It Forward is so much bigger than just a soccer game. It is about bringing people together, honoring loved ones no longer here, and celebrating memories and time together. It is a reminder about what’s important, where we came from, and is meant to inspire us all to truly live while we are living.

All hands in

This is year four, and I can’t believe it! Countless hours and efforts have been put in and I as I type this with a big smile I could not be more proud. I am humbled and honored to host this event, and so thankful for all the love, support & help from so many friends, family, alumni and community members.

BLR Play It Forward 2015…here we go!

Remember. Celebrate. Live.

#PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo #Community

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blr play it forward 2014 memorial scholarship winner essay

Jami Mathers was our memorial scholarship fund student winner last summer:

Blue Lollipop Road Travel Scholarship Fund

We were only, um- completely jealous when we found out she was off to Italy with her awarded funds for her adventure during this school year. Words from her trip:

Day 1

Upon arriving in Milan, my group had an extra day to discover Italy. We first drove to Lake Maggoire for the best view of the Alps in all of Italy. The town surrounding the lake was small and cute. The day was absolutely gorgeous. We had free time to walk around the petite shops and relax by the lake. It wasn’t long before we were back on the tour bus and driving to our hotel in Punta Sabbioni or Tranchetto.

Day 2

In the morning, we took a boat over to the mainland of Venice and arrived at a factory where we saw a glassblowing demonstration. The art of it is purely amazing. Every different form and style of Venetian glass is divine and sparkles with beauty.

After the demonstration, we took a guided tour around the entire city. We walked through the shops on the Rialto Bridge, rode a gondola on and through the Grand Canal and lastly, we visited the Bridge of Sighs. Once the tour was over, we had time in Saint Mark’s Square to roam. I chose to see the Museo Correr and the Archeological Museum. Both buildings were remarkably beautiful, especially the Museo Correr. The entire building is made with naturally colored marble, making the walls look as if they were elaborately painted.

There is more to come, and yet I’m already in love.

Day 3

In the morning we drove five hours to arrive in the city of Florence. Today, I accessed the Accademia or the Uffizi where the architecture was phenomenal. Afterwards, we walked to a local leatherworks showroom where we received a demonstration on leather in Tuscany. I’ve always loved the smell of leather, but true Italian leather beats it all.

When we had lunch today, the food was heavenly. I wanted more and more of everything; it all looked so good.

I ended the day by sitting in the main square, watching the sun go down with a cup of gelato in my hand, ending another beautiful day.

Day 4

Today, I was in Pisa. I love the area around the Cathedral, Baptistery and the Leaning Tower. We first entered the Cathedral and then made our way next door to the Baptistery. The Baptistery is the largest in the world and is the only Baptistery in the world that is spherical. Every day at noon, the owner comes in and sings where her words are echoed twelve times. We arrived at noon. The complete overwhelming silence in the Baptistery as the owner sang was utterly chilling yet beautiful.

The Leaning Tower was next in line. I lay in the grass as I ate yet another gelato and beheld the tower’s glamourous imperfection.

After leaving Pisa, we had dinner back in Tuscany. The restaurant overlooked the valley as the sun set.

Day 5

Today, I spent another evening in Florence to see the Duomo and the Statue of David. Each was a fabulous work of art in themselves.

Day 6

By mid-afternoon, we arrived in Assisi. I didn’t think that I’d like Assisi, but once we arrived, I don’t like I ever want to leave. It is the exact image you get in your mind when you picture Italy; it is completely picturesque. I haven’t been here long, and I’m already so completely in love with Assisi.

We visited the Basilica of St. Francis and just like the town, every aspect of it was unexplainably gorgeous.

 Afterwards, we hiked up to the top of the town where a rather large castle rest. Looking out into the distance, you see magnificent gentleman farms for miles, while surrounded by mountains.

Day 7

Today, we explored the ruins of Pompeii. It’s no doubt that tourists and visitors are reminded of the tragedy that took place long ago as Mount Vesuvius lurks in the background. When the volcano erupted, it not only destroyed an entire town, but it also practically mummified the residents. Today, you can see them perfectly preserved in clay moldings. When you see their last moments, you often find yourself filled with compassion yet curiosity. They make you realize exactly how valuable a single second is in life. They make you reflect upon your life as a whole.

After the tour of the Pompeii, we saw a cameo demonstration outside of the ruins. Once done shopping or souvenirs, we transferred over to the other side of the island in the Sorrento Region. The Mediterranean Sea was located directly behind our hotel. Tonight, we walked around and relaxed by the beach.

Day 8

After breakfast, we took a boat over to the island of Capri. Then, we took an island boat tour around the entire island of Capri. Everything is completely picturesque.

Afterwards, we took a trolley up to Capri Town where we went to a perfume factory and visited the “Garden of Augustus”. At the garden, I saw great views down on the Faraglioni Rocks. I love everything about Capri; it doesn’t matter which winding street you go down, there will always be a delicious fragrance in the air or an amazing view to the side.

Once the tour was over, we took the trolley back down to the lower level of Capri. Then, I relaxed by the sea as I ate my billionth cup of gelato. I wish I could stay here forever. Tomorrow is nearly here and I don’t want to leave.

Day 9

After leaving Capri yesterday, we drove to Rome that evening and checked into our hotel where we then ate dinner.

We had to wake up early this morning to go to the Vatican, because the Pope was coming to the country for a meeting. We walked through the Vatican Museums and were the very last group to enter the Sistine Chapel. The few minutes you have in the Chapel are completely silent and entirely overwhelmed with peace. It feels as if all the problems in the world have never seemed to exist.

Once out of the Chapel, we went to St. Peter’s Square, but the Pope had already shut down the Basilica. We then walked to the Colosseum and through the Roman Forum. From there, we visited the Spanish Steps and the Piazza Navona via the Pantheon.

I ended my last night in Italy eating gelato next to the Trevi Fountain. It seems as though every part of my trip was dream.

By day 2 she was in love, by day 7 she was realizing exactly how valuable a single second is in life, and by day 8 she felt like she didn’t want to leave. Ahhh- This is why we do this! If I know anything for sure, I know Jami will now dream even bigger, live even better, and be inspired to do even more than she already imagined was possible!

We don’t just have an event, we bring people together. We don’t just give money to students, we provide the opportunity to open minds and change perspective. We don’t just think travel/exploring something new has the power to change a life for the better, we know it does.

Today is Friday July 10, 2015 and we are about to kick off our 4th Annual Event. I can’t believe it has been 4 years. I am so proud of all of our scholarship winners like Jami, and I am so thankful for every last person who helps, plan, participate, donate, and execute every detail to make this all happen. Play It Forward is powerful. It means something big. I am thrilled to know we will be doing this for many years to come. There are so many amazing people to honor, so many happy memories to celebrate and so many young people to support in chasing all that’s possible.

Thank you for sharing, Jami! We hope you will stay inspired, dream big, and continue to work hard believing in everything.

Hope to see everyone in the community out joining us for fun and doing good this weekend! 

#PlayForwardGiveBack #Inspired #Travel

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