Virginia

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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screened in, never boxed

The current Blue Lollipop Road worldwide headquarters office view on this Friday afternoon, after I just kayaked for 2 hours:

BLR Office

I think we too often make the mistake of forcing ourselves into standard time and space boxes that just don’t fit with what really makes us tick in our professional lives.

When we tick, we do great work. When we do great work, we can make a difference. When we make a difference, there’s a little bit of unstoppable magic that happens and other people want to get on board.

Inspire people to get on board!

Don’t stay in a box if you don’t belong there. (And I’m not just talking about offices here.) There are no rules. Find your “space,” own it, and keep doing cartwheels all the way down the road.

#LifeOutsideTheDroneZone #LoveYourWork #CelebratingEveryday

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get a life! (outside.)

Bright and early this morning and just after writing this last night, I heard something VERY disturbing as I was grabbing a coffee. The TV was on in this public place with me paying no attention until my ears caught a designer on a home show who was being interviewed; “The average American spends 23 hours a day inside…”

Twenty three hours out of twenty four a day, INSIDE?!

What are we doing to ourselves, people?!

This fact is almost as disturbing as a couple others I’ve learned, such as the average American home built in 2016 was something close to 4,000 square feet, and there are an average of 300,000 items in American homes.

I’m about to cry over here.

Holy mother lode guys and gals, these facts and figures are so NOT cool. Are you in Target right now? The mall? Hiding at home with all the windows closed? Please take your hands off the cart, hanger, or remote, and walk outside for a minute. Do me a favor and think of why you are in Target, at the mall, or on your couch. Do you actually need what you’re shopping for? Do you have any bills you could pay where your money could be more effectively used rather than that “I can never seem to get out of Target for less than $200” that I hear all the time? Are you just bored?

Please put me out of business! Remember we declared together (by that I mean I’m pretending like you all agreed) that 2017 is THE YEAR OF LESS CRAP? How about now we add that this year can be the year of more fresh air? The year of more adventure out of four walls with your bestie exploring a new neighborhood, more time to kick the ball around at the park with your kid, extra hours losing yourself on a road trip alone, more fun gettin’ frisky under a tree at the top of a mountain with your shmoopster….oh the possibilities!

Here’s a teeny sampling of my past few months:

In the Mountains

Aspen

Red Rock

Palm Trees

Red Rocks

Colorado

Spain sky

Lake Sunset

I don’t know about you, but this girl sure isn’t staying inside for a minute longer than she ever has to.

Consumerism and isolation are forceful breeding grounds for fear, hate, obesity, misery and all those other things that sound just awful, sad, and not fun.

Life is WAY TOO SHORT to be awful, sad, and not fun…don’tcha think? Yahoo! The bell just rang for recess! It’s time for all of us to go play. Get up, open the doors, walk outside, hug a tree, a person, or both, and find a little more health and happiness on this crazy ride.

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #MoveIt #TheGreatOutdoors

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HAPPY 7TH BIRTHDAY, BLR!!!

Like a mother, I feel incredibly happy and proud of this being I’ve created that means everything to me. Time flies far too fast, and my “baby” is all grown up. It’s odd to say a blog/website could feel like a living thing, but that is the truth. Blue Lollipop Road has been alive and active now for exactly 7 years, and I can honestly say that my life changed forever on 10/16/08 when I wrote my first blog post. It’s as if I grew up a little more that day, ready to share myself, and pass on love & lessons within this next generation of me.

That indescribably and overwhelming never-the-same feeling people talk about when they have kids!

Amazing.

This month is graduation time for my sweet, sweet, BLR- to version 2.0. The next adventure begins on 10/26, as I give this larger than life entity a complete makeover. So excited!

Like all things or people worth it in this crazy life, hard work is required, we are likely to shake fists in the air with frustration, shed tears occasionally, and then spin around in pure bliss, too. For anything or anyone worth it, exhaustion is part of the package, disappointment will creep in sometimes, and heartbreak is unavoidable. With all the bad, comes so much good, though- and blows every last icky feeling we may have ever experienced out of the water. Ahhh…those moments It’s all worth it; those undeniable joyful seconds of purity you feel when that “thing” you have put every once of your being- your complete heart and soul in, looks up and says I love you. 

Well, I love you, too Blue Lollipop Road.

Thank you for motivating me, teaching me, making me sad, happy, confused, proud, frustrated, and for helping me to continually believe in everything possible. Thank you for holding my hand so I’m able to remain fearless and love hard. Thank you mostly, for making me feel completely alive. Because of you, I can be best version of myself and feel like I have a purpose on this planet. That is the best feeling ever.

My sweet, sweet, BLR! What a run (or should I say, drive), we have had together!

Here’s to a billion more years of the good madness that is the life roller coaster, and hoping that together, we can inspire and light good fire inside everyone we meet.

#Love #Mojo #Believe

*Took this photo a couple days ago, full on filthy in work pants at a client job in Virginia. Good times geeking out at the view and always sporting a BLR tee!

Happy Birthday BLR!

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hello monday!

It is nearly midnight, so this is almost a Hello Tuesday! post. The day has been busy with lots of good things so I’m just a bit behind.

When the alarm rang this morning, I thought – UGH!  It’s dark, I’m tired, I’ve barely slept! I can’t believe the week already starts again. Then…motivation nation quickly came rushing in; Its Monday, Baby! Get up! Carpe Diem!

So I jumped up and came to this because there’s nothing like getting up early to start your day off right:

Morning walk

It was definitely overcast, and not the most optimal looking sky, but the freshly mowed grasses on the course and the company I was with, made up for the grey. I also got a good laugh from this sign:

18 miles per hour

Go 19 and you’re done for. Hilarious. Who makes up this stuff, anyway?

There’s something about morning exercise, and something about Monday mornings up and atem that simply sets the tone for a good week to come.

If you’re feeling like you’re dragging, get UP and move your body! It might feel painful for the first few minutes, but when you’re done, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

Boom.

#GetUpGetMoving #CarpeDiem #CrushingIt

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stuffed with thanks

I’d like to think I live a life of thanks giving. I wake up everyday, think about why I started Blue Lollipop Road, and why it is so important to me to do work that matters and be around people I love. I’m constantly reminded that time is precious and as I’ve written recently- I’ve thought about my own fate more lately than ever. Not a bad thing- just a holy sh*t thing; I’m not getting any younger and I have more and more of a desire than ever to live as much as possible. “They”, those people that told me years ago “Time passes even quicker as you get older- just wait.” They were right! I believe them now.

The Thanksgiving Holiday for me this year was a “Friendsgiving” once again. If you know me, you know I love my family more than anything, but I sort of boycotted the holiday stress/expensive/madness/freak-out/travel/shop/expectation-fest years ago, so I don’t usually spend any actual holidays with my blood. We talk nearly everyday in some fashion, we make a point to see each other several times a year, and well- if I can pat us all on the back for a second, I think we all have our priorities pretty straight about that. We don’t want to fight traffic, we don’t care about gifts, we’d rather spend the 100 bucks on 5 breakfasts out at our favorite diner when we visit back home, we save up and buy the gas or (much cheaper off-peak time) plane ticket to travel to see each other, and when we get there, we usually do little more than hang out, take walks, and chat over coffee and a treat of some kind on a patio together.

I’m so thankful for my unconventional family.

Back to this years’ turkey feast at a friends house, we set a pretty table:

Thanksgiving dnner

…and took in a pretty sunset:

A view from turkey time

Lucky us.

Of course my family and I were having a photo text-off about what we were cooking as I enjoyed time with my friends. Love technology for that. If only Thanksgiving day text messages came through with those delicious food smells…

How do you celebrate the season?

#AlwaysThanksgiving #FeastWithFriends #Framily

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career day talk, year two

I was invited to speak at Robious Middle School in Virginia again for their Career Day this week:

Career Day talk

Robious Middle School

(I’m sandwiched between a funny sales guy, a high-energy teacher, and a sweet and sassy fire marshall. Not bad company for a Wednesday lunch:) We were just a few of the 30+ speakers on hand.)

The thought that kids who are between 12-14 years old might think I am the slightest bit cool is pretty great. (Let’s just assume they did.) It was a blast and honor to be at this school. Funny though, I found that once again, more adults (teachers and administrators) thought I was cool, than the kids did. I love having conversations with parents or teachers who say “I want to do what you did/are doing!” or “Um…do you mind if my daughter/son calls or writes to you?”

Um- yes please! Call me! Write me! Send a bird!

One particular teacher this week (who happened to be a writing teacher) was a welcomed and helpful force in my room of 25 antsy kids as I was on my soapbox. She occasionally piped in with something like; “Listen to that kids? Passion! That’s what makes you great at a career! That’s what we talk about all the time.” She was fantastic, she got it, and I am thrilled to know there are still teachers like her out there. After my talk was done, she came up to me and asked if I minded if her 25 year old daughter contacted me. Of course! I’ve heard time and time again from parents of 20-somethings, that they have these super smart and driven young adult children who “just don’t know what they want to do.”

Rest assured supportive, yet concerned parents; This “no idea what to do” is a positive big deal: Your 20-something has officially stepped out of the American Drone Zone. (Wahoo!) They’ve jumped off the gerbil wheel that’s labeled “This is what you do now.” They’ve taken a plunge into a pool that’s full of maybe a tad bit scared but actually really excited fellow troops, who are proclaiming; I don’t know exactly where I want to go/what I want to quite yet, but I know one thing for sure and the automated have-to life is not for me! 

Your kid will be fine. In fact- better than fine. They can think for themselves, they value their happiness, and they don’t want to be like everyone else. That is totally awesome. They will figure it out and be better in the long run for jumping ship into their own ocean.

Some advice I gave the middle schoolers. Can be applied to all humans:

1.) Concentrate on what you’re good at, not what you suck at: Challenge yourself to try things that are hard for you, but if you genuinely don’t like something, if you pretty much still stink at it even though you’ve tried and tried- walk away and focus on your greatness. You will become a master and the opportunities are endless. In short: Stay in your lane. 

2.) Stay top of mind; Keep showing up. Want a job at that place that isn’t hiring? Want to learn from that person or company you think is the bomb? Tell the company why you’d be the best ever at that job. Tell the person you admire why you think they are awesome and why they inspire you. Send a resume, send a video, send a chicken, send flowers, send a note, send yourself showing up at the door waving and smiling. I promise as soon as there is the need for a hire or room for an intern- they will think of you first. In short: “They” will find it impossible not to love you and want you around. 

3.) Never be afraid to ask: Those who ask shall receive. I was mortified as a kid when my grandmother shoo’d me up to various counters asking if the store would still honor an expired coupon, or if they offered any discounts. Embarrassment central when you’re 8 or 10 years old, but you know what? – nearly every single time, I was met with a “Sure! We can do X,Y,Z” response. Just speak up; when you stand up you stand out. In short: You get what you ask for. Seriously. 

Here’s to encouraging ship jumpers! I can’t wait to keep doing it again, and often

What advice do you give?

#DoWhatYouLove #ShipJumpersUnite #CareerDay

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365 days of blue lollipop road; day 22

1.22.14

*Technical difficulties yesterday. (Boo!) Day 22’s post is coming in far after midnight, so I’m doubling up today. (There’s a very good chance no one out there even pays attention to the time/date stamp on these posts, but I do, so I’m calling myself out here:)

Day 22 of BLR 365 is a submission from a chef friend in Virginia:

…before she started chopping for dinner. Mmm! Comfort food on cold days = yummy!

Have you made your BLR yet?

Send me your submissions: Diane(@)bluelollipoproad.com so I can share here!

#BLR365 #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ComfortFood.

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