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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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…