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Friday, December 31, 2010

don't stop get it, get it

(I love that song.)

I've got surprises coming throughout January and a new BLR look coming on Monday!

CHEERS!!! (I am raising a glass and clinking here.)

***My new favorite cocktail for a celebration like New Years Eve:
*2 ounces vodka
*4-5 ounces of fresh lemon and simple syrup or store bought lemonade
*Shake over ice
*Pour in martini style or fun glass of your choice
*Drizzle 1 ounce of red wine (pinot noir best) over the back side of a spoon onto side of glass (this will make a pretty red ring around the top of glass.)
*Top off with drop of bubbly. (I'm a big prosecco fan.)
*Sip and enjoy!

Not the greatest photo, but the Crackberry only does so much:

Cocktails for NYE at Stefani's


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

get your bubbles ready!

Our bottle of bubbly on the coast of Maine

I took this photo while in Portland Maine 2 summers ago. My Mom, Brother, Sister and I walked by a fabulous little wine and cheese shop while perusing the streets and thought grabbing a bottle of bubbly, a baguette and some manchego cheese would make for a good snack and relax pit stop on the sunny afternoon overlooking the water. Isn't the sweat coming off the bottle perfect? During this cold winter, it makes me dream of warm summer days lying in green, green grass and sipping deliciousness while spending time with people I love.

Cheers to popping some bubbly, and all the great adventures to come!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

here's your sign

When I was in Nashville a few weeks back, I asked a clerk about the tax rate after my order rang up. He told me what it was and then asked where I was from:

Me: "Well, I am from Vermont, but just came from California."
Him: "Is Vermont near California?"
Me: Speechless, smiling, saying thank you and walking away trying not to make a face.

I made a phone call this morning confirming an appointment. The staff person on the phone asked me what my name was:

Me: "Diane Peacock"
Her: (spelling it out...) "Is that P,e,a,c,o,k,e?"
Me: "No Ma'am, it's P,e,a,c,o,c,k."
Me: Raising eyebrows and making faces on the other side of the phone.


In the adventure that's next in life, in job interviews, meetings- other, it's good to know that I might be at least one step ahead of some, simply based on the fact that I know that Vermont is not anywhere near California, and I can spell peacock. (I can knit too- watch out!) Did I mention I have also been asked which state is Vermont in? Between that and the comment I overheard someone making once that "Vermont is in one of those states, like New England"-I don't think have anything to worry about.

It's always good to have a good laugh in your day.

This one is dedicated to you Camilla~

Girl...we have nothing to worry about. They might even vote us in as Co-Presidents soon because we are so brilliant :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

tick, tock, tick, tock

Only 4 days until we ring in 2011. How time flies when you're having fun. I'm looking forward to sharing some news with you here!

I hope everyone is getting up, getting out, and chasing those things you want and love. After all, the only way to get things done is to start doing them first.

Cheers to taking a step with your own two feet.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

guess where?

House in Sitka, Alaska

Yes! Alaska- but where oh where on the Inside Passage?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

good girls get magnum bottles of wine

In time for Christmas (I mean Santa is watching right?) I've been a good girl and gotten back into my regular running routine again:

So the irony of me mentioning my Napa wine diet this fall and getting back into good habits? After my run, FedEx Santa delivers this to me:

Alexis Cab. Magnum gift from Swanson!

I guess I was such a good girl, Santa Swanson couldn't resist sending me a big ol' treat. YUM!

To my Swanson Sisters~

I love you! What a great surprise. Thank you, thank you. Miss you all tons and I will save this for a very special occasion. I have an idea what that occasion that will be, but you'll have to wait to find out...

Bubbles to all and to all a good night!

Friday, December 24, 2010

two j's doin' good

I have friends that do the coolest things. If I was ever cool, like even one bit- it would only be because of the variety of interesting and remarkable people I have in my life.

Take Justin for instance. He is a musician and has been a part of Silly Bus for years while educates and entertains kids through music. He also volunteers for other community projects and oh yeah, he's a career guy too. Justin is way funnier than he realizes and it's always a blast to catch up with him. We had coffee recently and he brought this CD that he had just finished to me as a gift:

Flashlight Tag Christmas CD

Flashlight Tag Christmas CD

This CD is GREAT. I can't lie, I'm not a big holiday music super-fan. I don't usually bee-bop to Rockin' R'ound the Christmas Tree the day after Thanksgiving until Santy comes, but I am all about the Flashlight Tag tunes. (I have to say I am a sucker for some banjo.) Listen to Twinkle Lights here or get in touch with the guys to get a copy of the CD. This is a must have in your holiday collection.

In more news on interesting pals doing exceptional and unselfish work, meet my friend Jocelyn, owner of Green Duck. She has recently finished up a HUGE project at the World Equestrian Games. With over 500,000 visitors to the games, can you imagine all the waste? Well, Jocelyn and the crew she worked with managed to collect 175,000 pounds of materials to keep them out of the landfill. Yay! Watch the video with Jocelyn busy at work here. Next time you're noshing at your favorite local restaurant, or your socializing at that annual fundraiser you go to, remind the people in charge if they don't already- to forget the styrofoam devil and order their food packaging from Green Duck. If you are green, you are cool. Enough said.

My Christmas gifts? Learning from, looking up to, and spending time with people like these two. They are inspiring kids, making art, respecting community and living consciously. That is my satisfying pile of wrapping paper. What more could I ask to be surrounded by?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

vermont gets voted over?! gasp!

Why oh why?

Check out my fellow wanderers, my soul peeps in love with adventure: Alex and Luke. I have written about them before. I just saw this note on their website. WHAT?! "poor Vermont just kept getting voted over time and time again..."

(Insert stake through the heart.)

This is a travesty. Come on my fellow Vermonters or whatever non-Vermonters out there who are lovers of the green mountains, delicious cheese, ice cream, fun country frolicking in fields of organic produce and progressive mindset and lifestyle (just to name a very few amazing things!) We need to send lotsa notes to Alex and Luke and rally them to Vermont or bust. It looks like they will be staying for 2 months in New Hampshire starting 1/2/11 so it will be easy for them to hop, skip and jump on over.

Dear Alex and Luke~

Look at me in Vermont in May. Don't I look like I'm having fun and in gorgeous scenery? See what you have to look forward to?!

In Vermont on Lake Champlain

My fellow Vermonters and I would like to cordially invite you here to Blue Lollipop Road so we can fill you in on all the best places to see, eat, visit- you name it, in the great VEETEE. Lets be in touch eh? Any question you might have, myself and my crew o' Green Mountain Gringos peeps have you covered. Never again will Vermont be voter over!

Here's to your bomb-diggidy awesome start of 2011 at the Balsams and in our neighboring New Hampshire!


guess where?

On the Alaska Highway near Yukon, BC

'cuase you just might get it

To call me impatient is an understatement. I like to be a mover and shaker and think my pace is normal because, well- am me. I have been told I talk to fast. (Again, normal to me, but my Mother who is laughing reading this right now has told me on several occasions that after 32 years she still cannot understand me on the answering machine. Yes, the 'rents still have an answering machine.)

The one thing I have been patient with is this blog. If you know me personally you know that I have often said I don't want babies. Who knows if that will change in the future. All I know is Blue Lollipop Road has been my baby for well over 2 years now. The way Mothers feel about their children I feel about this "little one" in my life: It means everything to me, I love it more than anything even when it is broken and bruised. Even when I am frustrated with it, and I have one of those "What the heck am I getting out of this deal again?" kind of moments- I still love it and don't care how hard, confusing, or endless the water treading feels. I refuse to give up because I feel hope, I see all the potential and trust that if I give all the love and truth I am capable of, it will grow up to be magical.

Even though I trust all the above, like a Mother looking at their child on graduation day with that "I knew she could!"- there is a simultaneous: "Holy bleep! Is this really happening? Did she really make it here like I knew she would???!!!" This is how I am feeling now. There are a whole lot of little things brewing, coming together and presenting themselves in the result of "raising" Blue Lollipop Road to be something. It feels surreal, there is crazy momentum and I feel like I am flying. Every teeny little thing in the right direction fuels my fire to go more and I am so excited I cannot even explain it. I just got this email from a friend I haven't seen in about 3 years and that I talk to rarely:

You know...I just learned that my wife regularly checks your blog. She is more aware of what you are doing these days than I am! By the way, she says you are a good writer. You should try to turn your blog into a book. Sort of an autobiography. Start talking to little guy publishers. While your writing is fantastic, you'll need an editor to get it into book format.

As much I have more confidence than some, I still scoff at the amount of people complimenting my writing. I guess it's hard to take that compliment when you feel like you are just a girl babbling about everyday life. I am learning to take compliments like these with a smile, giving myself credit for "raising a good kid" and trying to accept all the good things that seem to be flooding in with a furry recently.

What's that they say, be careful what you wish for, 'cause you just might get it?

I told you I had some surprises to share. There's more to come. I wish I could reach out and smooch every one of you readers who check in here every day and have followed me through this all. Thank you thank you thank you. I will have more surprises for you soon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

progress baby progress!

Ok kids! Guess what? After all this time, we are finally making some traction (hee hee...no pun intended) with Honda. I have connected with Alicia who works for them. She now has some stellar photos of the BLR Mobile. What's a huge bummer, is I passed through L.A just a couple weeks ago, and she just asked me to stop by the American Honda Campus there. Humph.

Theme of the day? Timing. DOH!

It's never to late so stay tuned on car stuff.

In other BLR news; I am happy to report that I was contacted by Schmap New York City (YIPPEE!) last week. They found my photos here on Flickr and are going to use one from a yummy lunch I had with a friend at Cafe' Habana in New York back in July.

There's more brewing...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

this is what's in my dash

BLR Mobile on the side of the Pacific Coast Highway, California

Smiles. Big, big smiles.

good, genius, easy, change

I've been writing, thinking, brainstorming about this project I'm working on and I wanted to share a few things. Friends and family (even my Mom has teased me) about believing some of the below. Yeah, yeah- I know some people are effed up, miserable, mean to each other, there is hate in the world whatever. I still believe:

*We are innately good
*We really are willing to go out of our way to help each other
*We are all creative genius in one form or another
*Things are WAY WAY WAY (can I say WAY again?) easier than we make them out to be
*We often suppress who we are and what we want because of fear of phantom things and people that don't even exist

My most favorite "I believe" to date is from the blog of this phenomenal woman Danielle I met in California back in September:

*"...everyday is a chance to change your mind and change your life."

Guess what guys?! We live in America. We have a chance to choose it all. Lets chew on that one for a while.

Friday, December 17, 2010

reverse retirement

I'm working on something so exciting it's making me jump out of my skin with excitement. Enough to make me forget about the frigid temps and snow outside. If you know me you know how little of a fan of the cold I am- that is a big deal.

How blissful it feels to be alive when you spend time working on things you believe in...

On a side note:

I was reading Fast Company yesterday and saw an article about this incredible product. The brilliance of some humans minds and the things they create with them baffle me.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

check out the red star above

...on the Alaska page.

Quite a circle- eh? The best one I have done yet for sure.

Next stop/thing/adventure?

Keep tuning in. The new year is coming...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

frozen pavement thoughts

During my run just now, the usual 56,000 things per minute flood my brain. Here are some fun ones I will share:

1.) When there is massive credit card debt in America and people claim they can't pay their bills and never have any time off, why have they gone out and purchased plastic reindeer, giant bows and blow-up snowmen costing god knows what to fill their front yards?

2.) Of those homes with enormous displays of holiday yard art in attempt for lovely decor, why have they then left dilapidated cars, boxes/bags of trash and rotten old plants littering their yards too?

3.) If the "American Dream" is so dreamy, then why is the divorce rate in this country above 50%, why are homes still being foreclosed left and right and why do so many people say they hate their jobs or bosses and if they "had the chance" to quit and do something- anything else, they would?

4.) Boy I'd like to get a pedicure sometime soon.

5.) Running in frigid temperatures sucks. This is why I vowed I'd NEVER complain about the heat. 105 degrees with 100% humidity? Bring it.

6.) I can't help it. love that Mariah Carey song; All I Want For Christmas Is You

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

when they say fried corn...

...they really mean actual corn that's been fried ya'll. (Yes, and that's hush puppies too :)

Tennessee fried-lovin' dinner!

A good ol' Tennessee dinner with friends...YUMMY!

Monday, December 13, 2010

meet ben

Ben is a friend of a friend. When I was in Seattle this summer, our mutual friend put us in touch, so he and I met for lunch. After lunch he was kind enough to tour me around the city (Have you seen that amazing library?!) Ben just so happened to have blue hair (how cool is that?)- so naturally we had to take a photo next to the BLR Mobile:

Blue hair and Blue Lollipop Road!

People like Ben make me happy. He volunteered to take a few hours out of his work day to show off his city to me, a perfect stranger. This is what awesomely generous, cool and fun people do because they appreciate adventure and curiosity a much as I do.

To Ben:

1,000 apologies for being incredibly late on this post! Thanks for offering yourself to be in the story of my great 2010 Alaskan adventure. I'm still smiling.

Is the hair still blue?

To E.V.:

Thanks for the introduction. When are we having hot chocolate?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

dear santy

All I want for Christmas:

1.) World Peace
2.) An apartment in the city so nice, they named it twice

Friday, December 10, 2010

21 days until...

...we ring in 2011. Be prepared for some surprises. They might come early if you are good little girls and boys!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

do you hear that?

That's the sound of construction vehicles! Blue Lollipop Road is getting some new duds for Christmashannakwanzika.

We are going to be ringing in 2011 like gangbusters.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

full circle: alaska or bust 2010

What's in your dash?

Monday, December 6, 2010

blue lollipop road~ phase two

*Blog writing for over two years...check.
*50 states, 13 countries and a million adventures...check, check.
*Goals, ideas and other forming as all of this was happening...check, check, check. (You didn't think this was all for nothing did you? :)

The construction vehicles are coming out, face lifts are happening as we speak and surprises are around the corner.

See you soon to fill you in...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

sunny saturdays

In the Marina in San Fransisco:

The Marina in SF

Ahhh....so nice.

Friday, December 3, 2010

method to the madness

I love it when the word of the day that pops in my inbox fits impeccably into what I'm living at the moment. This just in:

Word of the Day for Friday, December 3, 2010

divagate \DAHY-vuh-geyt\, verb:

1. To wander; stray.
2. To digress in speech.

But, vague vagabond, you will seem to divagate, while in reality you will keep both eyes open and your ears pricked.
-- Umberto Eco, William Weaver, The Island of the Day Before

don't leave me hangin' dude!

I know, I know- Sorry! I have BLOWN out some miles in the past not even 48 hours. (We are talking nearly 2,000 miles so I am a bit tired to say the least and my laptop time has been limited.) Even though this has been an abnormal trip for me just driving and driving without stopping much, I still have plenty of stories. Things like my classic car "camping" and freezing like I have never frozen before, America's most foul smelling bathroom, and almost running out of gas in the middle of nowhere New Mexico because I got chatting with my mother for hours and didn't realize how low my tank was getting.

Photos and videos in a bit. At this moment I am concentrating on my terrible but at the same time delicious and much needed coffee at the Denny's I'm at, along with giggling about food items called things like "Moons Over My Hammy."

P.S~ In case anyone is wondering, it is NOT warm in a place called Sayre, Oklahoma in December between the hours of 1 and 3am.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

and then there were 800

I didn't even realize I was approaching 800 posts until I logged on just now. Great way to kick off my next 3,000 miles.

I might be the only person in history to drive clear across the country to turn around and drive right back. That's how much some amazing people, a fabulous company, and a city like San Fransisco have stolen my heart. (Boy, do I love the energy of a big fat city!) As much as a huge part of me wants to stay west right now, the other portion tells me to complete the circle and trip I started on July, 13 so here I go. Maybe I just get east, wave hello, collect a few boxes and drive back 3,000 miles. Maybe I stay east forever. Either way I am such a huge winner. I have learned about what I want and need in my life to be happy, healthy, and balanced. I can't wait to make a home living around people and things that inspire me on a daily basis. I see clearly now more than ever.

See? There was a method to my madness all these years. My reverse retirement has paid off. I never doubted for a second that it would, but also never knew it'd feel this incredible or peaceful to get here.

Here's to all that's waiting in the future!

Monday, November 29, 2010

to erin, who led me to jessica, who led me to...

...Heather, who led me to the best place to sip a girl could ever work in:

Swanson Vineyards Sip Shippe

I came to Napa and found a lot including my fabulous Swanson Soul Sisters. This Alaska or Bust adventure has been a most growing and incredible 5 months of my life. What a way to end it working with you all. I heart you for life chicas. Thank you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

get your seat belts on

The road trippin' begins again in 3 days. We've been to Alaska, we have busted it. We left from the east coast almost 5 months ago. (Yes, by "we" I mean you all, my peeps, my readers, my friends; all who share here.) Lets hit the road to complete the loop and see what's around the next corner.

One life. All the freedom and opportunity in the world and things to learn every day. I'm loving that.

See you on the road...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

hot air balloons and bubbles

Don't tell anyone, but I took this photo while I was driving yesterday morning. (Hey, I didn't want to miss a close-up shot!)

Hot Air Balloons in Yountville, CA

The day before, I snapped these leaf-changing vines at Mumm on my day off:

Fall at Mumm Napa

If you work IN the wine biz like I have been here, you rarely get to run around and go tasting yourself, because you are so busy serving others the good grape juice. I managed to weasel some time in for bubbles, after all- they are my favorite. I love fall, I grew up in Vermont and changing leaves of an kind have always been beautiful to me. In Vermont I'd be drinking cider and eating apple doughnuts looking at the beautiful changing colors through the windows with good company. Here in Napa I have done the same- just with a bit of sparkling instead.

I will never again have a first harvest season in Napa, with a first time working for a winery. I will probably not live in a lot of places where I can see hot air balloons filling the sky each morning or where I'm able pop in on my way home from running errands for a sip of some wine or food that's known around the world. For these, and many other delicious reasons I am giving my thanks this year.

Cheers to never taking any moments good, bad or bubbly (hee hee...) for granted.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

second round of skirt!

I confess, I occasionally Google myself.

I'm glad I did just now when I can't sleep at 3am. Look what I found! The Skirt! magazine article from the August Issue. Yay! I have to say a huge thanks to Editor Constance Costas for seeing a story in me more than once.

The U.S Border Patrol knows about Skirt! too. They Googled me when I was coming back into the country from Vancouver this summer. I guess when I rolled up to the booth with a car packed full and no plan as to where I was exploring next, then told the agent I had just driven to Alaska alone he thought I was a criminal or fruitcake. He then sent me inside with an orange slip. I waited in line, went through a bunch of questioning and stood there nervously as the agent typed away on his keyboard. I knew I was good to go when he looked up from his computer monitor and said: "Crushing Oreos in a jar of Nutella?"

All that typing he was doing, he was Googling me. Sure enough a Skirt! story about me that included information about my chocolate habit popped up from 2007. All the guy could do after reading that story was free me laughing and shaking his head. He handed me back my passport telling me: "Be careful Ms. Peacock, Ok? Really, be careful. Safe travels."

Thanks for saving me at the border and being a cheerleader for my exploration and adventure Skirt!

send me to manhattan

Um, my ultimate favorite sport soccer combined with Caribbean-style booty shaking dance moves? This class was made for me. The two ways I like to sweat best. I'm in love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

follow the yellow brick road

...actualIy, mean the red line. Click on the "Alaska" button above and track where I am going! I head east shortly and you know a cross-country road trip comes with a lot of stories.

I never imagined that when I declared; "2010 is MY year!"- it would mean that all in this quick flash of less than 365 days I would:

1.) Work with one of my best friends helping him to organize his company during it's wildly successful growth.
2.) Drive alllllll the way to Alaska, alone, to hit my 50th state reaching a 16 year old goal.
3.) Live and work a full harvest season in Napa for a winery owned by the most lovely kind-hearted people I could imagine.

....and then some. And I don't take one second of any of it for granted.

I still can't wrap my brain around all the memories and experiences that I have just from this one single year. I look forward to sharing my 2011 with you here. Nothing like following your heart, setting goals and doing what feels right. It always works out. I am so thankful this year for being inspired to follow my dreams. I can do this because of all the friends and family I am lucky enough to have.

In honor of a chuckle and giving those thanks for Thanksgiving, I'm using the term "The Napa 15" (like The Freshmen 15 so many gain in college.) This describes how tight my jeans are after 2.5 months here. I mean, who's not going to eat cheese and drink wine everyday when you work in a place like this? To add to the wine and cheese, now comes the turkey. Let the buttons pop. I'm going out with a bang.

Happy turkey feasting everyone!

Monday, November 22, 2010

how you know when you're really in love with something

*You think about it everyday. Even if you are insanely busy, stressed or otherwise pre-occupied
*You sometimes put it before yourself
*You feel like if it's not a part of your day, your day is incomplete
*You feel lost without it
*If you never got to see it again, your heart would be broken in two
*If a someone proposed the question; "If you could do anything in the world, what would if be?"- it would be that thing

That's how I feel about Blue Lollipop Road and sharing my life, in all the glory and madness here; I'm in love with it. It makes me feel free. Not writing here even for just a whopping few days was a much needed space and break, but has made me feel like I lost my love, my puppy, my best friend. I have too much to say to keep my mouth shut for long. There's all that cool and funny stuff that happens during the daily bs that I can't wait to share too, so here I am again. What can I say, I just can't stay away.

If you know me or if you've visited here more than once, you know I am more comfortable sharing and being wide open than hiding things. This sometimes gets me in trouble. I have no problem telling people when or why I love them or when I think they suck. This sometimes gets me in trouble. I can stomach and be smiles and rainbows even to the biggest of jerks, but cross me or someone I love and I will go postal on your ass. This sometimes gets me in trouble. Living life open on the world wide web sometimes gets me in trouble, but it's worth it and then some. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have said it before and I will say it again; I won't change who I am, being truthful, or how I write because I am afraid that someone won't like me. (Yes, this includes any current/future employers, boys, in-laws dogs, chickens or other.) Sorry.

I took this cute (bad) photo (with my phone) at a wine event in The Marina today in San Fransisco:

Ice truck at Vintners Market in San Fransico

I only have ICE for you Blue Lollipop Road!

In more news; I just saw the New Kids on the Block perform with the Backstreet Boys on the American Music Awards. I'm not even sure what to say about that, but I do have another announcement that will come soon. Don't you just love surprises?

Friday, November 19, 2010


Apparently when I say I am taking a sabbatical, the world really wants me to take one. I just found out that my email inbox has been bouncing back all the messages people have been sending me for a week. Nice when I'm working my tail to connect/network, send resumes and all that good stuff huh? Life always seems to have that perfect timing. The email issue is fixed now, but if you have emailed me in the past week- please resend to diane (@) blue lollipoproad.com -Thank you and sorry!

Now back to my sabbatical. Happy weekend. I'll be back soon with a vengeance. Promise :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

recess, sabbatical, furlough...

...whatever you want to call it. I am taking one from here. Overwhelmed? Not really. Stressed? Nah. Feeling like I don't want to share my every thought, decision and move with everyone, every second of my day so I can actually have a clear head and worry about only me? YES. Totally.

Absolutely I realize sharing everything is what I signed up for. I love transparency, most of the time. My life has been one big transparency-fest. I've turned myself into a giant piece of Saran Wrap and I'm feeling like I need to be more of a tarp right now. (Yes, like the blue thick ones you buy at Lowe's and Home Depot.)

I want to live in a big fat city. That is SF, Chicago, DC, NY. If I can't live in one of those I want to make enough money to be able to go to them as much as I can. In order to figure out how I can do this when I have like negative zero dollars in the bank, I need more time to game plan, brainstorm and all that fun stuff even more than I already do. Blue Lollipop Road is my life and my love, but makes me no loot so right now it must take a bit of a back burner to things that make me loot so I can actually live where I want to live. If I keep moving to places I really don't want to, or making peanuts for money just because a job falls in my lap, I will never be at my best and I'll have to keep moving to stay interested, engaged. I will also never have $2 to my name. That's just silly. I've loved my time being a professional vagabond. Change is good, but I have moved 96 million times in the past 14 years. I have learned a TON, but now I'm flippin' tired. I am way too talented and capable of having my own business or working for someone else who will pay me a decent amount for my talents and experience to not be funneling all my energy into a great concept or company in one place/city/state. I'm ready to put that 14 years of being a professional vagabond and trier of all things to good use.

So?- I'm funneling right now. If you hear nothing but crickets here, on Twitter, Facebook, email, phone, etc.- don't be surprised. I'm fabulous, I'm healthy, happier and more confident than I've ever been. I'm just taking some extra time to make major headway on my future.

I promise I'll show back up here, bounding and smiling soon enough. As I sit in San Fransisco today, it seems a perfect time to quote The Governator:

"I'll be back."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sunday strangers

I have been relishing in my last few Napa weeks, going for runs, walks, wanders in the morning in what's been an insanely warm and just absolutely gorgeous balmy few days in November. I've also been working a ton to get some loot in the bank account. Buying 3,000 miles worth of gas for my upcoming cross-country trek is not cheap. I went to bed on Friday night at 8:40pm (I know- I'm living on the EDGE!) I've been just loving floating about, relaxing, waking up to grapevines and being thankful for my learning experience and time in wine country. This will certainly go in the books as yep, I've even worked a harvest season in Napa- how cool!

While I was working today, I met a spunky older woman who's a college professor. She made me look quiet, boring and shy. This woman has the energy to light a fire to something when she walks by it. I was playing hostess and we got to chatting with another girl I work with. It didn't take long for the worlds of "Do it, do it while you can, if I could ever go back and have gone, moved, done more traveling, etc. before there were mortgages, kids and all- I would have." I have heard these words a million times over. Always from extremely accomplished, much older and well respected people. These words from this spunky stranger today made me and my coworker, who I have a lot in common with, very happy. (Not that I need permission to go and do you know that I'll do what I want regardless of what anyone says.) It's nice to hear words like those from someone who's lived long enough to know better after going some places and doing plenty of things.

I'm excited. Like really excited. I know you all read about a lot of things that "excite" me, but the excitement I feel now is an true excitement for life, work and possibility that I have not felt for about 4 years. I didn't realize until my time here how much of a tough, but needed growing phase I've been in these past few years. I feel like me again, but even better. Just ready to take the world by storm, knowing what I want and being able to actually vocalize it.

On a bonus note, I had a comment from a new blog follower today, a return email from a business owner who's website I found and complimented her company (I told her I'd love to work with her!) and an after work cocktail at this gorgeous green hotel and spa with a new friend who I'm quite convinced in the short time we've known each other- will be one of those lifer pals.

Now that's what I call a Sunday Funday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

roads, vines and skies- oh my

Vineyards in Oakville CA

I love it when the intended jump quick out of the car and snap a few pix turn into gorgeous ones like this that remind you of how incredible an everyday adventure is.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

decisions, decisions

Life is one big fat adventure right? You never know what's going to pop up and say "OOH! Pick me!"-or when you will hear nothing but silence. As one of my readers commented recently "It's always feast or famine with you isn't it Diane?"

That makes me giggle.

Well, I suppose so. I choose to think of "it" as one big ol' feast though. There's never been famine in my life. I'm constantly feasting on experiences, mistakes, food, people, places, opportunity and so much more. Some think I'm crazy, some think I'm great, some think I'm an immature fool. I'm just happy being me. I've tried to be other people. It never works.

In a moment of frustration some weeks ago with my schizophrenic decision process of should I stay (in California) or should I go now and trying to manage the advice and input of way too many people, (even though I have known what I wanted to do since leaving NYC in July), I told my Mother on the phone that I know I might infuriate some people all to hell, I know I might make lots of mistakes or look like a nutcase sometimes, but I'm just living my truth. I can guarantee if my funeral was tomorrow not one single person would feel a bit sorry for me. People know that I have LIVED. I know I have LIVED. That makes me happy.

Her best Mom ever and agreeing response; "That's right darlin'."

Learning about who you really are, accepting who you are and feeling fully confident about it is no easy task. I work on it every day. I'd like to say I feel a bit wiser or confident because of my age (you know, all that "when you get to a certain age" stuff) but I really think that my drive to Alaska this summer and time here in California this fall, in a whopping total of 4 months- have shown me more of who I am and what I know for sure than the previous almost 32 years of my life have. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this. I't been a surprising but welcomed discovery.

A couple of these "know for sure" things:

1.) When you have a burn to do something, a thought or thing that wont go away- you're a fool if you don't do it. Not to get all Field of Dreams on everyone here, but for real?- If you build it, try it, go for it- it will come. You MUST trust your gut and your instincts. You simply cannot fail if you put your true heart and soul into something.

2.) It's pretty safe to say, you will always flop, fail, be unhappy, and have regrets in if you don't trust your gut and your instincts; With every choice you make.

Saying this, my journey continues as originally planned- back east in a few weeks. The total bummer of this story is that In a miniscule amount of time at a job I have had in California, I have 100% fallen in love with the crew of people I work with. I hope they will be my friends forever. A crew like mine here are a rare find and not an easy one to leave, but instinct- all that heart gut, and opportunity tell me east right now so that's the direction the little Civic that could will go. So? I wrap up a most lovely harvest fall season working in Napa Valley wine, and never forget my time here. I will think of this experience and these people any time I question my decisions. Most doubt quickly fades when I'm reminded that I'm making my decisions based on the most important things.

Thank you to all who have stuck by me as friends, family and followers during the "rat race" (as my Mother has lovingly called it since submitting a few words and a baby photo to the yearbook my senior year in high school.) You know I don't forget people. I love you for loving me.

Let the race continue...

***Most importantly for today: THANK YOU TO ALL MILITARY MEN AND WOMEN. Special shout out to my friends Andrew and Alex. Hats off a million times over.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


This is a photo from the lawn of the cottage I stayed at last summer in Maine with my Mom, Brother and Sister:

View from the cottage in Maine

Sigh. I miss my family and my east coast peeps.

farm girl flowers is born!

Congratulations to my friend Christina for the launch of her fabulous company Farm Girl Flowers!

Check out her website here and she what she's up to. She's bringing gorgeous, fresh, local flowers to people all over San Fransisco at a ridiculously affordable price. Pass the word if you have a friend in the bay area or heck, send the peeps you know there some fresh flowers yourself!

Blue Lollipop Road always supports anyone following their dreams. Especially when they are being green and giving a great deal too. Go Christina!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

"honey, gas up the jet ski!"

My friend sent me an email with the following directions so I followed:

‎1. Goto Google maps.
2. Go to "Get Directions."
3. Type Japan as the start location.
4. Type China as the end location.
5. Go to direction #43....
6. Laugh

Now that's pretty funny. Oh that Google, they're always being so fun and creative!

sunrise hot air ballon ride anyone?

Hot air balloon morning at Luna Vineyards 10/10


Reveling in my day off from work relaxation time, I was just uploading photos, finishing a book, and was thrilled to catch up on one of my guilty pleasures; Watching missed episodes of Desperate Housewives online at abc.com. I finished watching my show, and a window for Match.com popped up. Here's the link. As I was about to X out of the screen, what do I see on the left column?- A marital status button.


Am I missing something?

Call me granny panties, old- fashioned, out of the loop- whatever, but why in the bleep would a match making/dating site have a marital status button?!?! Does this thing let you post your profile to read; Single 30-something female who likes long walks on the beach and to travel- seeks married dudes to date. No offense to those who have found true love on the internet, but now I can add one more reason I think online dating is ridiculous. I mean, to each his own. I just don't think I'll ever lean over to one of my gal pals to say, or post something online that says "Sweet! Bob is married!? Hook a sister UP!"

Sheesh. I don't get it.

i make-a da-peetsah, i make-a da-pie...

...I chopp-a da-onions, dey make-a me cry!

I wonder if they'd kick me out if I put a sleeping bag on the floor, camped out, and tried to get my mail sent here. Did somebody say espresso, prosecco and grana padano for breakfast? I'm so in.

Food, glorious food.

Monday, November 8, 2010

fall foliage

Vino style:

Vines in November

Sunday, November 7, 2010

the proprietress

When someone generously offers the gift of safety and comfort, thank you is never enough. When that someone is pretty near a complete stranger, thank you times a million is even less enough. Today I was given the gift of safety and comfort by one of the most lovely, energetic, radiant people I have ever met. I am so very thankful.

I will never forget your sincere generosity E.S. Thank you. I'm excited to be able to pay that generosity forward to someone else soon.

Now I'm off to that best nights sleep of my life...

leave cash on the bumper, or?

I stopped to buy a barrel from this person a couple weeks ago, even though- what the hell do I need a barrel for, I practically live out of my car- but there was no one around so a photo had to suffice.

Roadside sale in Napa, CA

I really just wanted to donate $15 to this person, get their story on why they were pulling out all the stops to go to London. I would have liked to post a photo of their face here. You know I fully support wanderlust and adventurers. I love someone who has no shame and just goes for it. Why not? I hope you made it across the sea, stranger!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I like "firsts." You know the first time you made out with a cute boy, the first time you went to Europe, the first time you tried some kind of crazy food or went skydiving, etc. Those are so fun.

The following was not a fun first:

This morning for the first time I stepped in cat poop, on the carpet inside the house...

...with my bare feet.

I want to say so much right now, but for one of the only times ever in my life, I will shut up here and just leave it at UGH. Vile.

For the love of god if anyone knows ANYONE around the San Fransisco North Bay area who has a room they will rent to me while I'm working here, please let me know.

You've gotta laugh. You can't make this stuff up.

Friday, November 5, 2010

farm to table

I LOVE this place. I can't remember if I have written about it before, but here it is again:

Farmstead. Farm to table dining in St. Helena California. YUM. Farmstead is a big part of the reason I was only a vegetarian for like 22 seconds.

If you are visiting the Napa Valley, you must stop here to have a glass of something red with the meatball appetizer and salt rolls while sitting outside by the fire.

Just thinking about it makes me smile, lean back in my chair and sigh...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

is that a ski gondola on a car...

...or are you just happy to see me?

I walked past this ride last night after fun times in the Mission in San Fransisco:

Ski gondola car in the Mission in SF, Cali.

Yep, the car and gondola are all spray-painted silver. (Smiles and daydreaming of rat race...) I just can't get enough of funky culture and the ridiculous blast of surprises around every corner in city neighborhoods.

Here's to never leaving your camera at home and unplanned nights out wandering with my old high school pals.

promised chicken poop

Here's the photo of my new little tube of Chicken Poop lip balm as promised:

My gifted chicken poop lip balm: 10/10

Chapped lips? Never! You are no match for what the chicken poo can do!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

walking in honor of a mom

Anyone can do a buck right? Read this blog post about my Uncle's Mom Pat. This woman was such a spitfire and hoot to be around. Support her daughter Lori in raising money for cancer. She's got 3 days to reach her goal and is only asking for one dollar. Everyone can manage that. I am playing serious bill catch up and I just donated a buck here. That was easy! Please pay it forward and use all your social media outlets to spread the word.

It makes me happy when I hear about wonderful people doing generous selfless things. Especially for the love, honor and support of family.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the gift of chicken poop

No I am not kidding. A woman came into work last week and gifted us all lip balm made from chicken poo. Check out their website for their craft. I have photos I still have to upload and will add them here later. For now enjoy their website. What's not to trust about a company that says "If ya got chapped lips...put chicken poop on 'em...so you won't lick 'em"

Monday, November 1, 2010

i heart work exhaustion!

So you all know that I'm bored unless I am doing a million things and that I can handle chaos and being swamped. That sure has been put to the test lately and I need an espresso! I have said many times and I will say again; I have no idea how moms do it. I'm now working full time with one winery that I'm in love with (YAAAAAAAAAY!!!) as well as babysitting, housesitting and dogsitting. I'm also working some nights at another winery and back into my regular 5 to 6 day a week running schedule. Even took a couple of yoga classes last week. Did I mention I am still homeless too? I have been couch surfing with 2 awesomely fun and generous chicas since my arrival in CA. While it's been fun, it's time to find my own room. I have recently added finding a place to live to my list of to-do's, so I can get off the couch and stop being that weird girl that never goes away.

This is all life right? Working several jobs to make ends meet, learn, network, meet goals, pay off debt, find time to exercise and be healthy, etc.? Yes, of course. BUT! Of course maintaining all that has left my recent posts short and less fun and creative than I'd like them to be. BLR is never going away though. Just on vacation right now. I hope all of you that have stuck with me this far, will keep sticking with me for the long haul. I might disappear here and there, but I'm still here. It only means I am studying for work or off making a few extra bucks. I'm hell-bent on paying off all my debt by my birthday. Debt free by 33! It's on!

I'll make a video of some gorgeous grapevines soon and post them to make up for my absence. Turkey Day is coming soon too of course. I will surely have some great photos of the FEAST we are going to make. Who wants to come visit Napa during the holidays? :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

give me back my boa

I didn't ask permission to post this picture of my friend (the one and only JW) from Halloween 2008, but somehow I think he'll laugh when he sees it, so no real need to ask permission. I absolutely crack up when I look at the pictures I took at his house party that night. This was the classic JW chow-down as he was finishing off a pan of chili. I have a video of him dancing with the jailbird suit and rainbow boa too. Lets just say I'm saving that for his wedding reception.

Here's to friends that never fail to crack you up. Especially boys dancing with boas.

JW Halloween 2008


Saturday, October 30, 2010


I took this photo a few weeks ago when I was at a roadside farm stand in California:

Fall scene in Napa, CA

This was that scene that got me missing those homemade Vermont Apple Barn hot cider doughnuts. I haven't stopped thinking about them since. I do have to say there are few better places than the VeeTee during fall. All the foliage and those spots to get apple-infused treats? YUM. I'm so thankful I grew up as a country kid there. This is the first year in 32 I didn't see New England foliage at all. Looks like I'll have to make a date with The Apple Barn for next year. There's no way I can go two years in a row without those doughnuts!

If you're ever making your way through Massachusetts up to Vermont, stop at this place. You're sure to leave stuffed and smiling.

Friday, October 29, 2010

if only there were more hours

I'm here! I worked 15 hours the past 2 days and it has been GREAT. I am loving being busy and learning. Of course making some cash is lovely too. I keep talking about the irony of me doing all the reading and research, etc. I have done the past couple years on company culture because I have landed on a company that just gets it. They take care of us, we take care of them. It works all around. More stories soon. My roommie made homemade lasagna and it just came out of the oven...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

this is the story of a girl

She drove to Alaska from the east coast.

Came to Napa, CA as a last stop before heading back east because awesome friend suggested "Work here for harvest season!- and stay with us!"

So she looks feverishly for a job thinking that'd be swell.

Even though companies tell her they love her and they need help desperately- they don't hire her.

She tries, and tries and interviews and interviews and tries again.

Still does not get hired.

She is bummed, confused, and just doesn't get it.

Decides she needs to listen to the world and clearly west is not where she's meant to be right now.

Picks a day to leave.

Then person calls out of nowhere; (Friend of friend) "Please! stay! Come work for us! We think you're great!"

She says: "Ok, fine, I will work for the two weeks before I leave."

She works for this company, falls in love with the people, the product, the owners, and all the possibility and opportunity there could be ahead.

She still says/plans to leave.

5 days before she leaves she thinks she needs to get her head examined; Leaving would be a huge mistake.

She says to the company: "I lie! I love you guys! I am so staying and I am so in!"

They tilt their heads juuuuuuust a little thinking; Ok, is she going to want to leave again next week?- but mostly they dance, cheer and high five as they are so happy for her to be a part of the crew. They welcome her to stay.

She is happy. They are happy.

Good things are here, better things are coming and they both know this for sure.

In the ongoing battle for east or west, the west has finally won for now.

This is going to be very, very good for her life.

She will miss the east, and all her peeps, (she already does), but duty calls and she feels like from here, things can only go up, up up.

She is smiling.

Here's to the adventure she thinks.

She is very, very excited to keep collecting good stories and fantastic experiences.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

gasp! this should be ME!

I am going after this guy! And Groupon and any other company like it that wants to give me $100k for not spending money for a year. God I could do that with my eyes closed! Grrr...can't believe I didn't know abut this contest. I'd give this guy a run for his money (or be his partner in crime.)

I just contacted Groupon telling them they need me. Lets see what happens. I love knocking on doors until my knuckles bleed. I have to believe eventually one will open.

have yourself a trick-or-treaty...

...help yourself but don't be greedy!

(I remember a note saying that on a written sign in the bowl of candy at my neighbors house when I was 9 years old.)

I drove by this house today:

Halloween house in Napa

I'm not sure I have ever been really "creeped out" by anything Halloween. Lets face it, the "scary" is more funny than scary most of the time. I had to laugh when I saw this place, (it was a wrong turn by the way. I love finding fun things by taking a wrong turn) I thought of my Mom screeching and screaming. She FREAKS when she sees so much as a fly. This photo doesn't do this house justice. It indeed had that creepy feeling of gross, hairy and creepy spiders just in time for fright night.

Happy Hallo-SCREAM!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



My little sister, who is at least 100 times cuter and smarter than I am wants to go live and work in Spain for a year. She'd love to be an Au Pair for a family, teach English or at this point she is up for whatever options to consider. She has spent weeks scouring the internet and looking at agencies and come up empty handed. Anyone out there know someone living in Spain, working in Spain or have any thoughts/ideas/resources for her to use? Even better; Might anyone have some big-wig corporaty brother working in Madrid who needs someone to tend his kiddies while he jet-sets for work and makes his billions? She's be great at that.

I would love you forever for any help to get her there, mostly because she is super responsible, trustworthy and fun. She deserves a great experience like living in another country. Also? Hellooooo! If she lives there then I can visit her! (Um, have I mentioned I love food, wine and Europe?)

Thanks anyone!

Oh wait...Ok, we just decided we wanted to make a video while we were on the phone together talking about life and work and Spain. Here's some babbling fun:

...boy do I need to get out of my yoga clothes and get some heels on!

I love my little sister. She's the bomb.

one week until east or bust!

I started out in July with Alaska or bust, now I go east or bust. I have decided I am going to make a bunch more videos this go around to add to the text and photos for posting here. Videos are fun. Road tripping is UBER fun.

I am finishing up my work during harvest season in wine country. It's been quite a ride and learning experience to say the least. In the fun words of the one and only Erin Martin and the perfect motto for my time here that will be burned in my brain forever:

"High-fives and ass-slaps all around!" (Just wait until the going away par-tay on Saturday night Erin. A VT throwdown it shall be indeed.)

Stay tuned all; Middle America here I come!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

i think there's something wrong with me

I'm laughing after calculating mileage and looking at maps for getting back east in a couple weeks. Only I could be thrilled about it. The things most would find torturous, I get so excited I want to jump out of my skin. Things like:

1.) Driving 3,000 miles by myself, for hours on end each day. (And no, I don't listen to music. I drive in silence.)
2.) Knowing that I'm going to be blasting through middle-of-nowhere-no-mans-land America. (When I mention this to other people, the usual reaction is "UGH! That is soooo boring. An awful drive!") My opinion could not be more opposite on this. I'd give my left arm any day of the week to be in a car, in the middle of random state X exploring around some "boring" town talking to strangers.
3.) Having a car with 145,000 miles on it that needs a brake job and has had a "maintenance required" light on no for weeks. Am I worried? Nah- I'm resourceful and I have AAA. I'll be fine. I haven't even told you all the story about riding tow truck to tow truck all the way from Vegas to Barstow, CA 6 years ago after Christmas in the middle of the night because my car broke down after dropping off my family at the Sin City airport. I didn't have the loot to repair my car then and I figured it out. that stuff makes for good stories.
4.) Knowing that over my dead body will I pay for a hotel room. That means no showers for several days again. (I'm sorry, but dropping a hundred bucks on a skeevy roadside hotel to sleep for 4 hours on a bed that could be a science experiment with all those random fluids is a rip-off and turns my stomach.) My Civic is spotless.
5.) I will have zilch $ to stop for entertainment, good food, etc. and it's just fine with me! This will be a get moving to get there kind of drive. It will still feel like winning the lotto, my birthday and a big vat of melted chocolate to me- my heaven.

Do I really think there is something wrong with me? Nahhhhh. I do realize though after all I have done, being on the road is my true religion. I can't wait to see some tumblin' tumbleweed!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

i have a crush

As promised, here is my video of the crush some friends and I happened to walk into:

The guys that were managing the crush walked over and gave us some of the grapes to eat. Once you're fortunate enough to nosh on some of these incredible little fruits fresh off the vine, you'll never be satisfied with another grape again! This action was all happening last night at Merryvale in St. Helena, California. I snapped a photo of one of the many bins of grapes too. The photo didn't come out great, but I wanted to give everyone an idea of what goes into those delish bottles of wine we all love:

Cabernet Sauvignon at Merryvale Winery 10.23.10

I felt like jumping in!

While I type this I am sipping on some 2006 Petite Sirah from Swanson Vineyards. Yum. After my stay in the Napa Valley during harvest season, I will forever have a higher appreciation for wines I drink. I take a bow to the brilliant winemakers of the world. The devotion and patience it takes for them to make their magic is beyond impressive. What a fantastic experience it has been for me to be here during harvest season 2010!

crush video

My postings have been sparse lately as I have been spending so much time sending resumes, connecting about potential jobs, researching, walking dogs, and actually work-working too. (I got a gig at a most fabulous winery for these last 2 weeks before I head east.) I promise I will be coming back and posting full-force, especially once I get on the road and start blazing across the country, you know there's plenty of story that always comes with that!

On quick thing I wanted to share:
Last night after work I met up with a couple friends to grab a drink then dinner. When we were walking from the bar to the restaurant we walked straight into a crush!!! Yes! That means buckets and barrels of cabernet sauvignon being put through machines to de-vine them and get them on their way to becoming delicious vino! I took some video I am super excited to share. Uploading seems to be taking forever this morning, so I'll have to post the video after work today as I'm running out the door it was the coolest thing to see!

Come back later for the video. Happy weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

random thoughts and things

1.) Today I had the most fabulous day working at a winery. The owners, staff, wine, chocolate (yes! I said chocolate!), guests, actual work and place was all around just fantastic. A good day of work makes me so so very happy. Am I a geek or what?

2.) One reason why I didn't sign up for Facebook until very recently; People are weird and can stalk you and I don't trust anyone. For instance, some creepy guy just friended me and wrote this long note telling me I am "pretty." He then went on babbling about his foot fetish and how he'd like to see my "soles." EW. Dude, really?- Go find someone else to be creepy with. I won't get into the things I carry with me on a daily basis such as mace and a knife. Care to find out if I'm kidding?

3.) I was gifted an absurdly expensive bar of chocolate and I just ate half of it. I will never again feel bad about spending bunches of money on chocolate if it tastes that good.

4.) I'm not sure I will ever want pets or kids. I mean they are lovely and cute and all, but I sincerely have zero desire to have any of my own. Talk to me in 15 years. Then again, that's what I said 15 years ago, I'm thinking my mind isn't going to change.

5.) I love wearing heels.

6.) I'm watching a rerun of Project Runway right now as I catch up on emails and such. Every time I see NYC on TV or a movie I fall in love.

7.) I think it's a bummer that most the time, the vibe, people, job, weather, family, friends, landscape are never in one place. Hmmm...so what's best to chose when?

8.) I love that every day is a crap-shoot. This means life really is like a box of chocolates; You never know what you're gonna get. Sometimes that's really annoying, mostly it's really exciting. Nothing ever makes sense but I'm not sure it's supposed to.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

everybody's girl friday

I did some office work for a lawyer in Saulsalito last week. It was interesting and different thing to throw in the mix of my recent professions during my stay in California. I've been a baby sitter, a house sitter, a dog sitter, a bartender, a lawyers assistant, financial organizer, home organizer and a will be spending the rest of my days until I head east working at a couple different wineries. All very sporadic, but welcomed and help me to scrape by until I land something full time elsewhere.

When I was working in the gorgeous little city of Saulsalito, I had lunch one day at a joint of a spot with yummy Asian food. I had to take a photo of my plate because this was the most odd looking friend egg that topped my meal I had ever seen:

Asian lunch and odd fried egg in Saulsalito

I also went to a place for coffee called Taste of Rome. Oh my fantastic. Tried and true cappuccinos here. I didn't nosh on anything, but this little sidewalk, open air cafe' would be the first place I'd hit up if I was in the mood for Italian eats and treats. One of the most fabulous things about California is the fresh food that you can get, around every corner. Restaurants, grocery stores, roadside farm stands, ahhh....you know I love that. Even with the odd looking eggs!

it's nice to share

(Thinking about this as I sit in a waiting area and the dustiest but friendliest California auto shop getting my oil changed and the big once over in prep for heading to the east coast. The lovely older man (Owner) and I have just shared travel stories and talked about how traveling indeed is the best education...)

Sometimes I forget how many resources I have because it's normal to me to stay in touch and send birthday and anniversary cards to hundreds of people a year. It all started because I just like people, places and fun things and connecting with all types of humans. Years later I have a pool of people and place knowledge from keeping in touch I can do everything from contacting 10 friends off the top of my head to ask the best route to obtain a foreign work visa, to connecting my fresh college grad cousin with real estate and business peeps in the Big Apple, to recommending a yummy pizza joint in Wisconsin.

Several times during my travels this summer and before, I have handed my card to someone and offered that if they found themselves in a odd/off place, or ever needed inside scoop for good eats or a couch to crash- to please let me know. So many people and cities have been good to me over the years. I have BUCKETS of people, insider info. and resources to share. What good does having all this info. do if I can't share it/pass it on?

If you're ever out there traipsing and wandering, wondering where to get the best breakfast is in Vermont, what National Park will most knock your socks off out west, or where to get coffee in Minot, North Dakota, consider me Blue Lollipop Road Google. Even better I have incredible friends and amazing strangers that would totally put you up and feed you a good meal in every state in America (and some beyond.)

I like to share. People share with me, I do my homework, I share with you. Pay it forward is lovely.

Next time you find yourself scratching your head trying to find the way to yummy food or fun...shoot me an email or post a comment here. I'm happy to share thoughts, resources and opinions!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

oh the memories

...and stories I still have to share. What a journey it has been...

Entering into Alaska; 8.8.10

who's up for another road trip?

-or should I say, finishing my road trip?

Westward ho!

Um, I mean...Eastward.

Looks like I'll be back on the east coast in time to eat some turkey. Here continues the great job search of 2010!

In making my decision to continue east, I got this email from a business person I know. It was a humbling and flattering email to say the least and very unexpected. I wanted to share it not to pat myself on the back (we all know I have made plenty of mistakes in my life), but because it reminded me that everything I (you) do makes a difference. People really are paying attention. I met this person years ago, I've had very sporadic interaction with them, and sure assumed we had a mutual respect for each other, but certainly did not think that he "saw" me/thought quite as high as this about me. This is a person who has been around the block, is much older and lived X10 of life and business than I:

" I knew you had to travel the pipe line; wrestle a few Carribu; smash a few grapes; and find some hunk under a rock in Cassablanka. There is no doubt that "the killer chick" will find what she wants right under her nose - what usually happens. When one is as industrious, independent, smart, beautiful, and hardheaded as you are- one has to hit the right wall hard enough to know what direction to take. Keep hitting walls; it will come"

I suppose this is also important for me to share because I hope it encourages you to stay true to yourself. I have tried harder to do that than anything else in my life. I've had an inclination to throw in the towel a few times since I've been an adult. Life throws you curve balls and serves us challenges sometimes that are debilitating. That and lets face it, it is not an easy road to find your feet and foundation as you grow up. The truth is, how you maintain and stay true and steady to yourself and your beliefs during those tough growing times- those are what people remember you for. There's no way everyone in the world is going to like me, or you. It's impossible to please everyone. The best people will see you for who you really are and stick with you through the good, bad and ugly. (AKA; "Finding yourself through your 20's, growing into your own, etc.)

Here's to the journey, paying attention, staying in touch, and being flexible, but holding steady to what and who you are.

Monday, October 18, 2010

in a van...down by the river

(A little bit of Chris Farley for your Monday morning anyone?)

In my case, I won't be in a van, but my car, down by some river.

After 28 legitimate leads, 13 interviews, 3 staffing agencies/recruiters, countless events, meeting people left and right with a smiley face, a bunch of other efforts I can't even keep track of anymore and 6 weeks...well, I'll just make you guess the rest.

Stay tuned for the next chapter of BLR:
Adventures of a girl on the road going town to town to learn how to make the crispiest french fries in deep fryers.

I know some people out there think it'd be fun to not work a ton, have no stress, pressure, etc. Good on those folks, to each their own, That's just not me. It never has been. I like to work and be busy. As in- a lot of work and busy. I'm ready to crush it. I'm not going to stop trying until I have gone to every city in America to get myself busy and making money. Someone will smarten up sooner than later and see that I can make them a lot of money. Then they will hire me for more than one day of work a week, they will treat me well and I will crush it for them.

Until then, I will fill time by drawing pictures on pieces of cardboard and sitting outside gas stations with signs that read something like:
Dog died
Truck broke
Husband left
Need beer

...and people with throw their extra pennies in my cup.

And you think I'm kidding.

Look, all bets are off. This has reached the point of absurdity. I have figured out my stripper name; Bandit Hidden Valley so I've got to get crackin'. At least those places are always hiring.

Is this all as entertaining for you as it is for you? It's not worth crying over. I mean sure, I am really pissed off that my talents are going unused in a lot of ways right now, but I swear I have more material for blogging and book writing than I could ever use in one lifetime.

Everything happens for a reason. I love every minute of it. Even the pissed off ones. I was fortunate enough to learn a long time ago that anything really is possible. When you learn that, you get this perpetual fire inside you and nothing can shut you up or stop you. (Maybe that's why that nun in that religion class I despised when I was about 12 years old hauled off and smacked yelling at me that I was a "Bold little girl!") I guess she saw my fire.

Off to keep the good fight fighting!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


I cannot believe it's been 2 years. Today is a proud and incredible day so I'm off enjoying and taking in some peaceful moments of reflection. I'll be back with some thoughts and stories in a while...

Cheers to sticking it out through all the madness and smiling at the other end with many more years of adventure to come!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

i'm not on vacation. i live here.

Sponsored By

Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine and Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

Did somebody say dream vacation?! I am IN! You all know I am a lover of road trips, so I naturally would plan a big ol' road trip for my dream vaca. (Ok, so I haven't been to Australia or New Zealand yet and I have been dreaming of feasting in Italy lately too...) I was joking with my little sister last week about taking her on the road and making the Diane and Erin Show. How fun would that be? I've recently updated the "bucket list" in my head from learning fluent Spanish and becoming a killer Salsa Dancer. I've added going x-country in/on:
1.) A convertible
2.) An RV
3.) A train

...and if you know me, you know I will make these trips happen. What do you want to make happen? I want to hear your story!

If I attempt to complete my mental bucket list I am in a good spot: My sister is trying to score a gig being an Au Pair in Spain so she will be able to teach me Spanish. My little bro is a Farmer and travels during the winter so I'm sure he could teach me some mad Salsa or other Spanish style sassy dances from all his South American adventures. I'd throw these two cuties in an RV or convertible and we'd hit the road Jack on June 1st one summer and just go go go until September 1. Full on top down, music blaring laughing and blowing through miles. We'd feast and explore. We'd go to National Parks and visit friends and talk to strangers. We'd take a million photos and videos and blog all of our stories. Oh how fun that would be. Here's a photo of my two cutie-pie sibs that could be my partners in crime:

Brad and Erin at Vermonster Feast May 2010

Aren't they adorable?

Get dreaming peeps! It could happen! I left the east coast with barely a dime in July and made it to Alaska safe, sound and jumping around like an idiot. If you dream it and enter it- it will come! Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

ooh! i want one.

Is it too late to get one of these on the x-mas list for Santy?

A friend sent me this link today after I had been talking to him about the Honda Civic design I have. After making a perfect little house out of my Civic all summer, I've got the specs for a perfect travel-friendly mobile that could work for anyone. Basically a personal RV that gets better gas mileage than those big ol' ones. Until I can convince Honda they need to create the BLR Honda Roadtripper, I'll gladly take one of these other personal hobo-mobiles. Ooh, doesn't just talking about it get you jazzed up for all the summer 2011 road trips that are possible?

i took this photo today

I had to post it here to give it props:

Sign in Napa 10.13.10

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

i love local fresh tomatoes

Especially the ones with funny signs:

Local tomatoes in Maine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

blr turns 2 in 3 short days!!!

Get ready for a PAAARTAAAY!!!


We've come a long way baby :)

a perfect time to share this photo i took a month ago

Bumper sticker on car in Emryville, CA

i believe in transparency, and i'm not afraid

A fun interview story. A short from my life:

I got a call at 8:40am as I was racing out the door for my 9am 2nd round interview with company X. The woman on the phone:

"I'm so glad I caught you. We have decided to go in another direction so we won't need you to come in."

Really? Thanks. We scheduled this interview 5 days ago. Don't wait until the last minute or anything. Would it have been asking too much for you to shoot me straight from the get go?

There's more.

As in trash talking.

I don't think I paid much attention when my interviews first started weeks ago. I typically try to ignore rude, immature, negative and unprofessional people in general, but it suddenly hit me a couple days ago: Every single one of these people and companies that I have interviewed with has talked trash about each other! I'm not talking one little mention of "Oooh, gosh, I don't want to spread rumors- but I'd just be a bit careful of X, Y, Z." No, it has been a full-on "Oh god- I'd NEVER work for that guy, he's a psychopath!" and "Ugh!!!- I am telling this because I like you; that place is a nightmare." and "Yeah, that place is awful and the woman who runs the office is a total witch." Furthermore; (This one totally blew me out of the water upsetting me) When I shared the name of the recruiter I have been working with commenting that she has been lovely and very helpful to me- someone trashed talked her up and down too! Awful!

OUCH! Is this high school? Are we 16 years old? Am I on Candid Camera? These are people who make money and run successful businesses? It makes me sad and disappointed to think that adults/professional business people in a small fabulous community throw each other under the bus left and right like this. EEK! What does that mean they'd do to me as an employee? How would I be treated and who'd throw me under the bus for the fun of it?:( What happened to honesty and transparency? What happened to say it to my face and not behind my back? Why are people afraid to be honest and straightforward? Isn't anyone else afraid out there that if you treat people like garbage, lie, try to knock people down just to be awful that karma will come back and bite you in the ass 10 times over?

I have to have faith that good people win, honesty is the best policy and when you are straight up and real, people with respect you. That's how I was raised. My Mom reads this, my family reads this, lots and lots of people read this blog. I consistently get far more respect, thumbs up, love, fans and followers by throwing and eff-bomb here and there, telling true stories of my life, keeping smiles on my face and never giving up, than I ever would by being elusive, closed off, mean for the sake of being mean or telling half of reality and my life story.

I've talked a lot recently about how everyday as I grow older I love and respect those people more and more who shoot it straight. That's the non-shit talkers, the people who will say things to me instead of behind my back in the purest and most honest way and respect and love me for saying the same to them. I don't think there should be a separation in this kind of thing personally OR professionally. Wouldn't we all get more done if we just gave it straight up from the get go or do we all really want to waste that much time skirting around issues to save face or because we fear pissing someone off? If I have to tip-toe that much around anyone or anything, clearly that someone or something and I are never going to get along. I was raised to work hard, be respectful, honest and care. To be considerate, try my best and treat others how I want to be treated. I work my ass off to do what I was taught. I've sometimes wondered why others don't do the same or at least try. I brush off the occasional harsh reality and keep moving on with a smile. Recently I have experienced a bit more than normal of this harsh reality. What do I do to deal with it? Put a bigger, fatter smile on my face, feel proud of myself for simply trying and continue to piss people off with my honesty.

I figure if someone else is afraid of transparency and honesty- good for them. This girl? - Not so much afraid. If nothing else I'll be able to fall asleep at night happy, knowing that I'm still doing all I can to practice what we all learned in Kindergarten.

Monday, October 11, 2010

and you think i'm kidding

I know I have loosely joked about having to go home to Vermont and live with my parents before. This is becoming a quick reality as I start week 5 of busting my ass to find a job here in CA and nothing working yet. (Perhaps a sign that I should've followed my initial instinct and heart to NYC?) I've been trying to get my parents divorced for years, I DESPISE cold weather and piles of snow and they live in a town that everything closes at 6pm. (Can you say one flashing stop light and a country store? A regular metropolis.) Clearly not the ideal situation for a single 32 year old like me who wants to bust ass to move back to that for the first time since I was 17.

I totally suck at waiting for people to call and offer me work after I have applied and interviewed. I just move fast. It's in my nature. I suck so badly at not working 60 hours a week or driving 800 miles a day it's absurd. This is the way I was born and I just can't help it.

This week should be interesting to see what potentially pans out here. If a comet doesn't drop out of the sky soon with 3 jobs or a bunch of cash, it looks like the BLR mobile will be heading east to stay with the folks until I can make enough money selling my soul to the devil so I can move to New York City.

Stay tuned. If the shackin' up with the folks thing happens, I will officially rename this blog How Many Days. (As in how many days will it take for me to jump off a cliff.)

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal. Just trying to be funny and entertain myself so I don't become suicidal while I apply and interview for 96,000 more jobs to places that need help but never call back.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

chocolate balls make me happy

Saying and writing "balls" makes me laugh. (We discussed this at length at the dinner party.)

Here's a photo from Friday night. The double chocolate Oreo balls were a hit. Look at the hands reaching in!

Birthday dinner party and chocolate Oreo balls- yum

Leftovers are sooo good.

can a girl get a job already?

I wrote a few days ago that I was totally annoyed and pissed off, so instead of punching a wall, I was going to go for a run. I do that a lot. I went for that run, put the smile back on my face and kept swinging the bat. That's life right? Fall down, get up, get really pissed, keep trying and "it will all work out." I really do believe that. That whole quitters never win thing? Yeah, I completely think that's true. Sometimes though, things just build and build and then you want to punch a wall and scream FUUUUUUCK!!!!!!! to the high heavens.

That's how I felt when I woke up this morning.

I didn't write yesterday when I was feeling pissed off. I am all about shitty days, accepting and understanding when you feel like garbage. That's normal. If something in life isn't working, we all have the right to vent in whatever way works for each of us. As much as I say that, the last thing I have ever wanted to be is a complainer. I haven't wanted this to be a bitch blog, or become that person who pisses and moans and never gets off their ass to fix a problem. We all know we don't want to be around that kind of bad energy. Moreover, I generally do not feel sorry for anyone who just complains and sits on their ass. In fact I find that really friggin' annoying. I mean, people who don't have effing legs run marathons- get off your ass and do something complainers.

Why am I so pissed off and why do I have the desire to punch a wall this weekend? Because sometimes I feel like I do EVERYTHING BUT sit on my ass, and STILL things don't click or move. In this particular case, what's pissing me off is work, as in- a job, a way to make money, a way to pay bills.

For anyone who talks about some bullshit that the economy is bad, there are no jobs, no opportunity, etc., this is simply NOT the case. I have never in my life had more people offer to help or connect me, seen more "we are hiring" signs, been asked to send my resume, invited to interview, networking events- all that stuff. It's out there for the taking. I've answered all that by putting a smile on my face, dressing my not so ugly body in killer outfits, I've shaken hands, kissed babies, worn "I'm a badass chick" heels and practically flown into meetings in a hot air balloon to multiple spots/places/businesses to try and get a job. I've gone to places and met with people who "desperately need help." I'm overqualified for most positions. This is not a case of "we aren't hiring at this time" or "I'm sorry, you have don't have enough experience for this job." Quite the opposite. The straight and dirty is this: I have found people and businesses to be totally inconsiderate by not returning calls or communication when they say they will. They also all seem to move at a freaking snails pace. I'm going on 5 weeks here. (By the way, for everyone out there who says things like, "these things take time, be patient, it will all come, etc- give me a goddamn break. Yeah, "it will come" when I'm 90 or when the bank repo's my car. Jesus christ already- please stop saying those obvious and annoying, patronizing statements in an attempt to make us feel better. It doesn't work.)

What person or company in their right mind, that "desperately" needs help either A.) Never calls back even though they tell you they will or B.) Would be willing to let a person like me (32, single, experienced, honest, reliable, driven, smart, energetic, DYING to work 90 hours a week, who has a laundry list of references and will even scoop shit with a smile) out of their sight without hiring them on the spot?

I have had COUNTLESS conversations with educated, amazing, experienced 30-somethings who are in the same boat as me in this. If I had my own business, I'd kill to have kick-ass 30-somethings that are out there unemployed crushing it in my company.

So what gives?

***Please note here that I take FULL responsibility for myself and I first and foremost think the what could I have done better? What could I be doing wrong? I even ask friends and mentors. Then, when all lights seem green and things STILL aren't working? -Yeah, I want to punch a fucking wall. (Ok, so not really, but it makes me infuriated confused.)

This is why I have said for years that I want to work for myself.

Do I think I am the smartest, coolest, best ever or have a killer product? No. Do I think I know more and am some kind of business whiz? No. Do I want to struggle to build everything from the ground up, pay for my own health insurance forever and never get a paid vacation? No, but I do want to just fucking work a job that I can use my experience and talents for and in turn be paid and respected. These opportunities don't seem to exist in America, or I am looking in the wrong 50 states.

It all leaves me baffled, disappointed, and with little faith in EVERY one/thing/business out there. Perhaps this is a sign for me to gather all those 30-something's. We will band together and create a business that kicks everyone else's antiquated and inconsiderate, unorganized ass. Green Eggs and Ham says: "I will not, will not anywhere!" Well, I am: "I will I will! and ANYWHERE!" and still no takers. That deserves a giant WHAT THE FUCK.

(Wow, it's a good thing I'm not religious. A Sunday post like this full of cuss this and that would surely land me in hell otherwise:)

To people and businesses out there missing out on the 30-something talent that's available like me and so many others, who want to bust our asses for you: Congratulations. You are idiots. To people or businesses in any city, state, country who want young blood ready and willing to crush it and make YOU money. Send me an email (dianeATbluelollipoproadDOTcom) or post a comment here and I will send you my resume and laundry list of experiences and references. Clearly I JUST WANT A FUCKING JOB and I know a big ol' list of others like me ready too.

I could always start seriously considering prostitution. I mean, I am really friendly so I'd probably do well.

I know- GASP!-right? By now you are probably rolling your eyes, shaking your head and mumbling something like "My god this girl thinks she's going to get someone to give her a job after writing something like this and using the word fuck 100 times?" or "No wonder she can't find a job with a mouth like that!, she must be crazy!"

Yeah there's a time and a place for everything, but I also think it's perfectly acceptable to be no bullshit.

I love having a blog.

Friday, October 8, 2010

if your name is aimee and you posted a comment...

....here today, please send me contact information for you or email me:

I'd love to help you/your brother out with finance stuff. I posted a reply to your comment too.Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope to hear from you soon!

friday night dinner parties...

...are so fun. Especially when it was your roommies birthday this week so you're celebrating and your other roommie has made Beef Bourguignon. Hello Julie Child! I'm making 2 ridiculous chocolate desserts (recipes stolen from 2 gal pals of mine.) I was also gifted a yummy bottle of Pinot Noir after an interview with a winery today (I know score!- right?) I'm fairly confident the night is going to be a blast and it hasn't even started yet.

Did I mention I'm on a diet and that I'm a vegetarian?

Yeah, yeah, insert laughs here.

I've never had many recipes to share, but this one is a must-pass from my friend Holly if you are a chocolate lover like me. Double chocolate Oreo dessert balls:

*Chocolate or vanilla baking bark (baking chocolate bars of some kind, 4 large bars.)
*1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened.
*1 pkg. Oreo cookies

Melt chocolate in double boiler and add solid vegetable shortening, ½ tsp. at a time as needed to make the mixture smooth. (Do not add liquid oil or water as the chocolate will clump). Chop the entire package of Oreo cookies with a food chopper or put in large Ziploc bag and crush them. Mix with cream cheese. Scoop out balls of mixture using a small scoop. Place in freezer until firm (30 min. to 1 hr.) Dip in melted chocolate, one a time, and place on parchment paper or wax paper until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (Freeze the balls until they are solid, dip them and get them out of the chocolate right away.)

Other tips:
If you do some them in white chocolate, you can drizzle some dark chocolate over them to make creative designs.

Sweet! (In every kind of way.)

Let the dinner party begin.