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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

welcome to vintage blr!

Here is the original.

We hope after you have seen the vintage stuff here, you will join us on the NEW BLUE LOLLIPOP ROAD SITE!

Make sure your browser says: www.bluelollipoproad.com

See you there!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I'm sure this moving company wanted to have a cute, friendly looking kid on the side of their truck in attempt to be appealing to potential customers, but I'm thinking you might agree that this little one looks more horror movie, less welcoming:

Creepy looking kid on moving truck

She's even channeling some Poltergeist glow!

During this break in posting and BLR site transition, I have collected quite a few funny and strange photos around the streets of Chicago. This city is chucked full of Mom-and-Pop joints and funky neighborhoods. Those of course provide plenty of off the wall signs and store fronts, as well as some very interesting characters...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the case of the mysterious nameserver pointing...

A challenging week with Go Daddy saying everything is set and pointed to the new site and some of you are writing me and telling me you see this one. My web guy and I are scratching our heads and still working on figuring out what's happening. On a fun note, he was able to steal a couple days to ski and explore around Vail this week- so as the theme of BLR goes, I don't like to bug people to do much technical work while they're hitting the slopes with a local pint of delicious brew. Saying that we are hoping to have things hashed out this weekend and be back in the saddle of daily fun posts soon.

In the meantime I am collecting fun photos around Chicago, have had quite a surprise adventure myself this week, and I'm about to go get some Cadbury Mini Eggs; my single favorite holiday candy. I have a feeling the Easter Bunny might have a hard time finding me this year, so I need to take my chocolate situation in my own hands.

Happy Passover, Easter, Spring, One day late Earth Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the new blr

We have switched nameservers, so hopefully the next time you log onto www.bluelollipoproad.com you will see the new site! I appreciate everyone being patient these past couple months. There will be a few little kinks as we get rolling this first week, but lots of fun news and many surprises to come...I am thrilled!

Best of all I have so much more capability with the new site so if there is something you'd like to see, put in a request. The sky is the limit from here.

Here's to new beginnings and the best spring ever!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Monday, April 18, 2011

saddles and cilantro

One of my favorite questions is: "Hey Di, I am going to/trying/visiting/touring X this weekend. Want to come?"

Well of course I do!

This weekend it was horseback riding lessons and a neighborhood Asian market/deli for lunch.

We drove north of the city to the farm. A view from the barn:

View from Chicago suburb hourse farm

In the barn:

Saddle and stall

The gear:

Saddles and tack


(Isn't that saddle leather gorgeous?)

Had to take a photo of the liability sign:

Horse riding warning

This was a neat experience. I didn't ride, as it was my friends lesson. (I've only ridden a horse once, so I would've been a hot mess out there anyway.) I did get to watch everyone collect all the gear they needed to ride and brush and prep the horses. The amount of prep time and gear involved surprised me, along with how much skill it takes to just simply stay on the horse. I've been skydiving and I think I'd be more scared to be on a jumping horse than I was jumping out of a plane.

After the riding lesson, we drove back to the city and stopped at this great little Asian market for lunch:

BaLe wall

To go goodies:

BaLe take-out goodies

...and you've got to love those random food items that are in some kind of gel, liquid or other:

Funky BaLe goodies to go

I wasn't brave enough to try any of those items, so I opted for a veggie sandwich and it was oh so good. Can you say avocado, jicima and cilantro? Yum:

BaLe sandwich Chicago

Good company, New experiences, cheap, fresh, and delish eats = happy Saturdays.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

signs around chicago

Chicago dog anyone?

Hot Diggity Dogs in Chicago

Thursday, April 14, 2011

barboursville wine, berkeley hotel, very happy guests

***(I am hoping Jason, Winemaker Luca from Barboursville, and all the wonderful staff at the Berkeley will forgive me for this severely delayed post.)

On March 24th during Virginia Wine Week, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Barboursville Vineyards Spring Wine Dinner in Downtown Richmond, VA at the Berkeley Hotel. The reception started at 6:30pm sharp and we were greeted by the friendly staff at The Berkeley, along with some delicious Barboursville 2010 Sauvignon Blanc:

Barboursville Savignon Blanc

To accompany this first wine, going with the local and Virginia theme were Rappahannok River Oysters on The Half Shell:

Rappahannok River Oysters

There were plenty of wine glasses lining the bar ready for a full evening of tasting:

Wine Glasses at The Berkely Hotel

...and Winemaker Luca Paschina cheerily greeted us and the rest of the guests. Meet Luca:

Barboursville Vineyards Winemaker; Luca Paschina

He could not have been more humble, warm, or genuine. It's always refreshing when I meet someone so accomplished and talented who doesn't have an ouce of ego.

After chatting with Luca and the Berkeley staff for a while as we sipped our Sauvignon Blanc, we were welcomed to the dinner table where we met the menu illustrating the 4 courses we were about to indulge in:

Barboursville Wine Dinner Menu

Can I just note here how much I love a long dinner, with a group of people who appreciate the art of food and drink? I am a true believer in feasting with good company, no one checking cell phones or watches, but simply engaging in interesting conversation and all laughing together fully appreciating the moment. No matter what state, country, time, place- this is my idea of a perfect night.

The first course; 2010 Barboursville Pinot Grigio with tuna tartare over arugula salad with toast points:

Tuna Tartare over Arugula Salad with Toast Points

The fresh-made puff pastry and arugula with dressing on this course was absolutely to die for.

The second course of grilled mushroom stuffed with mushroom risotto and white truffle oil came beautifully decorated and included 2008 Barboursville Barbera:

Mushroom Risotto, White Truffle Oil in Grilled Mushroom

They had me at white truffle oil!

Course three was braised beef cheeks over herb scented polenta served with Barboursville Ninth and Tenth Edition Octagon:

Braised Beef Cheeks Over Herb Scented Polenta

I may have actually licked the plate after this one. I think my "I am a vegetarian" thing might be getting old at this point. I'm fairly regularly consuming dishes like this- the one's that are prepared to perfection and I'm simply not able to hold my veggie only willpower. (I think I'm Ok with that actually.)

Each wine was paired impeccably with the first three courses, but I have to say, my favorite was the last; Bubbly. Ahhh...

To finish up the evenings feast, we were served Babroursville Brut NV with two local Virginia cheeses, one California, One French and three local Virginia honeys:

Dessert Plate

Cheese, honey, bubbles and the privilege of sitting next to Winemaker Luca while I dined? I'm still smiling. Cheers to that!

Barboursville Winemaker Luca Paschina and I

After working in Napa last fall, it was a special treat to get an invite to this dinner and sit next to the chef of grapes, Luca, as I often miss that Napa lifestyle and conversation. I asked Luca loads of questions which he was happy to answer. All in all it was a fantastic night that could not have left us all more stuffed or satisfied.

If you live in, or visit Virginia, add Barboursville Vineyards and The Berkeley Hotel to your list of must experience places.

Many thanks to Jason and Luca from Barboursville and all The Berkeley Hotel staff for the invite an accommodation. I'll be back for more!

blr loves roadside farms

Had to stop:

Farm Fresh Roadside Eggs in Vermont

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

cone and get it!

Today is Free Cone Day at all Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shops.

Who else is sprinting to one of those shops besides me? Jimmy Fallon, I love you and your delicious new flavor Late Night Snack.




This reminds me of the day last year my Mom, sister, brother and I ate the Vermonster:

The Vermonster

My sister and I didn't waste any time digging in. We couldn't stop laughing at ourselves and all the people in line were laughing at us too:

The Kid and I scarfing the Vermonster

This one absolutely cracks me up every time I see it. My brother; Spent, completely done and stuffed in an ice cream coma:

Brad stuffed full of Ben & Jerry's

Who's says ice cream can't build muscles? One of the reasons why I run and zumba all the time? So I can eat the treats I want of course!

Ice Cream Muscles

Our nearly empty bucket:

The Ben & Jerry's Vermonster

My sister actually walked to the car finishing it all off. Good to the last drop. That's my kind of girl:

The Kid outside Ben & Jerry's on Church Street in Burlington, VT

Peace, Love & Ice Cream. I'm with you Ben & Jerry.

Here's to Free Cone Day and much sugary fun with people you love!

Monday, April 11, 2011

ttaa (things that are awesome)

Train rides to work. Whirly Ball. Midnight dinners with old friends. Sunny and 80 degree Sunday afternoons. Morning runs in new neighborhoods. Perogies. Walks along a river. Being able to walk to a Mom and Pop bakery. Surprise emails from people you don't know. Finding video from old vacations with your little brother. Fresca.

Anyone want to add some TTAA?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

i love notes like this from people who see me on the road:

Had to say hi. My family and I saw your car Friday night, Apr 8th heading west on 80/90. Are you doing the trip again?

Best wishes, Sue

I hope you got my return email Sue. Thanks for the note!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

drumroll please!

So yes, I have been a bit absent because of packing, traveling, working and all that business, but we've also been taking time from the BLR site here, to start posting on the new BLR site which we hope to launch by 4/15. This is the official transition period! I know it's been a long time coming, so thanks for being patient and stay tuned...

adventure #876

(My friend Bethany threw out that # yesterday as I was doing road trip phone catch-ups. I think it fits.)

I drove 525 miles on Sunday, then 900 miles yesterday. The BLR Mobile ran perfectly as usual, without a hiccup while turning over 158,00 miles. Here's a photo of my partner in crime this morning, still shining and ready to go for more:

The Civic after trek to Chicago

Good thing it's great on gas too, because here's one of the places we stopped for gas last night:

Chicago gas prices

OUCH. Let's just say I am very happy the Alaska or Bust trip happened last summer instead of this one. Holy expensive gas! I am very excited to be using train transportation daily starting this week. The Civic will get to rest a bit. She deserves it, she has worked very, very hard for me this past year.

Hello Windy City. Here we go!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

grinder anyone?

Old school Bennington Pizza House sign

Yes please.

Veggie Grinder

The only good excuse for eating that giant white bread.

Mmmm...lunch in the northeast at old-school Mom and Pop joints.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

who are you? (part 3)


I arrived to table #18 full of welcoming strangers and attentive staff immediately at our service pouring bubbly for everyone. (You know how much I love bubbly, so I was in heaven.)

Table 18 at Ginny and Chris' wedding

Our dinner feast started with soup; Roasted butternut squash bisque with cre'me fraiche:

Butternut squash bisque

Then salad. Butter lettuce; lolla rosa, radicchio, port wine poached pear, crumbled gorgonzola, candied walnuts, citrus vinaigrette:

Butter lettuce salad with port infused pear

For palate cleansing; Blood orange sorbet:

Blood orange sorbet

Between servings, beautiful bride Ginny perused the crowd and greeted the guests:

Ginny, the smiling bride!

I will say here again, that she looked like the perfect bride. Of course her hair, jewelry, dress and all were gorgeous, but I really think it was the genuinely sweet and happy way Ginny had about her that made her look so perfect on her most important day. She was the vision of what all little girls dream about.

While Ginny made her way through the crowd, there was lots of dancing going on:

Dancing at Ginny and Chris' wedding

...and of course more eating:

Dinner filet with potatoes and salsify

I chose the entree of sauteed filet of beef; Duck fat fried potato dice, creamed salsify, roquefort red wine sauce. I nearly licked the plate. I still wonder how the Rittenhouse could possibly execute 200-plus plates of entrees, all piping hot at the same time. It was as good as if I were dining at a small exclusive restaurant with the chef cooking 10 feet away.

Just as I thought it couldn't get any better, dessert arrived and cake. (I mean seriously, I was like in food coma, euphoria at this point it was all so incredible.) Dessert trio; Chocolate pate', cre'me brule'e, coconut ice cream:

Dessert trio: Creme brule, chocolate pate, coconut ice cream

Those sweet treats stood no chance with me as I gobbled up everything. Thankfully we all burned off some calories by boogie-oogie-oogie-in to the fabulous band. I just love a wedding where the dance floor stays packed. The band at this one played from the moment we entered the room, through dinner and even extended their playing time beyond what was originally scheduled. Talk about perfectly executed! Eat, speech, dance, eat, chat, dance, eat, drink, speech, toast, dance, chat some more, dance some more, and eat some more.

Ginny and Chris' wedding dance floor

As I thought the night was wrapping up, and that we could not have had any more fun, or eaten anything else, the groom announced the party was moving into another area down the hall. We had to laugh when he noted that there would be a Philly cheesesteak bar waiting for us:

Philly cheeseseak bar

We had barely finished dessert! Then again, who am I to stop eating when I was in Philadelphia and there was a dish of liquid cheese waiting to be drizzled over meats and veggies? I think I counted 3 mini cheesesteak I consumed in the 2 hours we were at the after party. We all had plenty of cocktails, stuffed ourselves silly and I'm sure looked like long lost friends after partaking in 12-plus hours of wedding festivities together. My friend Jocelyn (who was the reason I was at the wedding- a friend of bride Ginny for years) joked that I was like the roaming gnome from those travel commercials. The one that pops up in random places like photos of families on vacation. Maybe it was because by the end of the night I exclaimed; "Ginny! We have got to get a photo of you and I for Blue Lollipop Road!"...so we snapped this funny one:

Ginny and I at after reception party

As the full day of celebration was coming to a close and the Rittenhouse staff was cleaning up the cheesesteak bar, our table looked like a war zone:

Remnants of a late night cheesesteak bar

I don't know if groom Chris will remember this until he reads it here, but see that plate in the right corner? Those were Jocelyn's leftovers that Chris snuck a few bites from as we were all gathered around the table starting to say our goodbye's. I can't paint the scene any better than to say what he asked me, was like when the record stops and the whole party's eyes are on 1 person. (Remember, I had still not met this man but had been "crashing" his wedding all day and night.) Chris picked up the fork, leaned over the plate, took a bite, looked up at me and said: "Who are you?"

And scene.

Laughter erupted and there you have the perfect punchline that actually happened during the last moments of the wedding I crashed. It was a riot. That scene will no doubt go down in Blue Lollipop Road history.

Ginny and Chris~

As a perfect stranger coming in to your world, I appreciate your openness and generosity. Throughout the day it was easy to see why so many people came from far and wide to celebrate with you. Your love for each other was a treat to watch and something remarkable. I have no doubt that you will grow even happier together in the coming years.

Here's to new beginnings, and new unexpected friends. Thank you so very much for inviting me to share your special day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

i am a master at honda packing tetris

Minus the love seat pictured; add 2 huge suitcases and me (as in my body), look at all I fit in the BLR Mobile:

Life belongings 4/11

Practice makes perfect after all these years I guess!

Honda tetris

Thanks for everything Jeff! You are the best friend a girl could have.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

today i looked up

The OMG Cafe'

...and I looked in:

Extra Par Ice Pack

...and I laughed of course!

Here's to always being curious, easily entertained, and keeping a camera on hand.