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Monday, February 28, 2011

and the strong mojo carries on

Go MAU Lady Patriots!

Check this NY Times article out about girls competing against boys in the state championship wrestling tournament this weekend. Is it cool to geek out because my high school in tiny Bennington, Vermont made the NY Times? Especially because the article is about girls kicking ass and taking names in sport?

Folks, my Monday was just made.

Mount Anthony Union High School, where this girl made wresting history this weekend is where Blue Lollipop Road originated! I guess all that strong mojo that lived among us other MAU lady athletes back in the 90's has stuck around. I'm happy to see it's still a force to be reckoned with. (Ladies from my old team, are you smiling as much as I am? This wrestling champ is a soccer player as well. Gotta love it.)

Watch out boys and watch out world- here comes Rachel Hale! Congrats Rachel. What an amazing accomplishment. Glad to have you as a MAU soccer soul sister too!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

it's official

As you all know, I had promised a surprise Blue Lollipop Road announcement/next project about a month ago. It was bit delayed because of a few good unplanned opportunities, and now we are ready.


After 16 years of my own adventure travels (50 states, several countries, delectable foods, interesting people, and thousands of miles and stories), it's time to pass on the laundry list of resources and information I have, to all of you out there: I put together a plan that includes anything from a small local quick outing to a far off extensive journey, add a fantastic food and drink element, and there you have the perfect storm for fun, meeting like minded people, and getting out of your everyday grind.

Sounds pretty great right? I use my buckets of experience and do the "dirty" work. (Planning and figuring out all details.) You show up and have a blast. It's so easy!

The 1st ever BLR Adventure happened yesterday. A group of incredibly fun and diverse people dove in to be my "test" case. (Thanks again guys!) We had a most fantastic 9 hours of road tripping, exploring, food and drink. No one from the group knew each other. (You know I love to watch worlds collide!) I laughed so hard my stomach hurt, heard "I haven't had this much fun in forever!", "When is the next one?!" and ended the day with a big fat smile on my face. As I drove home last night, I had a euphoric feeling, just as I had hoped I would. Nothing makes me happier than exploring outside of the regularly scheduled program, and encouraging other people to hop on the train to share that time. Isn't that what it's all about?

I truly believe that an adventure a day keeps the doctor away. That simply means doing anything that makes you feel alive and excited.

Yesterday, we were all very much alive and excited. A road trip to Virginia's Wine Country with our first stop at Veritas Winery. We toasted to the launch of BLR Adventures:

...ordered a cheese plate snack:

Cheese plate at Veritas

... and had a glass of each of our favorite vino outside while enjoying the sunshine:

Wine in the sunshine

Here's some of the happy crew:

Patio at Veritas Winery

After Veritas, we drove to our next winery reservation, but we had lounged at Veritas in the sun for so long we were too late. That ended up being perfect because the next portion of the adventure I had planned was to go to Mas Tapas in the Belmont Neighborhood in Charlotesville. There is always a wait at Mas. This place is slam-packed jam-packed every second it's open and they don't take reservations. We managed to score a table in no time because of our early arrival. Before we sat we met and chatted with a sweet and interesting couple. (Transplants from New Jersey to Charlottesville.) They were on a "date" for their 21st wedding anniversary, so cute. Talking to strangers fit in with the theme of our day.

The food was so delicious, I didn't even have time to take any photos before our table was empty!

Feast and done at Mas Tapas

Clean plates = happy people.

Some of what we ordered:
*Pequeno Plato de Queso - sliced, aged raw-milk Manchego, local apples, on a slice of hearth-baked bread
*Queso cocido con alcachofa - warm artichoke and goat cheese spread w/ brick-oven bread
*CocaMAS - wood-fired flatbread w/ smoked tomatoes, Caromont Farm’s Chevre, Manchego, Basil on hand-crafted dough
*Carne asada - marinated hanging tenderloin -grilled rare w/ smoked tomato alioli
*Chuletillas de cordero - tender, young lamb chops w/ grilled flatbread and a mint-mojo sauce

Drooling yet? So, so delish.

Cafe' con leche to end an amazing meal:

Cafe Con Leche at Mas Tapas

We are big fans of Mas, especially these funny tees the chefs were wearing:

Mas Tapas staff t-shirt

The first BLR Adventure was a wild success!

I will announce yet another surprise this coming week. The big kahuna is the complete overhaul of this site. We will launch in the next few weeks. Thrilled isn't a big enough word for how I'm feeling about a new full-on website to go with the next big phase of Blue Lollipop Road. The new site will have complete information on BLR Adventures and other projects we are working on so stay tuned.

To my test crew from yesterday~

Thank you for your support and participation! I can't wait for our next one.

Here's to exploring, eating, drinking and being merry!

it's oscar day baby!

Time for chocolate ice cream, twizzlers, and camping out in front of the TV for a ludacris amount of hours for pre, actual, and post shows. Red carpets, dresses, jewels and speeches- this is one of my favorite days of the year. (I was a fashion designer in a former life.)

Regardless of who wins tonight, I will be a watching winner.

Happy Oscar Day everyone.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

nothing says happy saturday like...

A BLR Adventure.


Sunny day with good company, yummy eats, drinks and gorgeous views. Throw in a little trying something new and talking to strangers. We like it.

Here we go! Check back tomorrow for photos and video. Group fun, Blue Lollipop Road style...

Maybe you should join for the next one eh?

reader ttaa

What a great surprise I got from a new reader today. She passed by the BLR-mobile today and left a comment on my earlier TTAA post. These kinds of things make me very, very excited.

TTAA from new reader Gayle:

*Finding an interesting writer because her license plate was parked in front of my house, and blue lollipops are my pediatricians favorite in the DumDums bag
*Celebrating the human connection that pen pals can bring

Thanks so much for sharing Gayle! Those blue lollipops certainly do have a special mojo.

Who else wants to share some TTAA?

Friday, February 25, 2011


Yes, that would be more things that are awesome...

Early morning coffee with friends. Zumba class. The Oscars on Sunday night. BLR at over 900 posts. The first BLR Adventure on Saturday. Egg and white cheddar cheese bagel sandwiches. Balconies on apartments. Jimmy Fallon. Surprise emails from someone you haven't talked to in 7 years. Friday night happy hours. Tattoos of blue lollipops. Cookie dough. Fried pickles. Fleece blankets. Old t-shirts. Christmas gifts that come in February. Attending the wedding of my 2nd grade boyfriend. Moleskin notebooks.

Anyone? Please feel free to comment and add below!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

i need these

Lollipop speakers? Fabulous.

I love it when readers send me links to fun things I should totally have.

vermont to oregon on a bike sounds fun to me!

So many people are out there doing good for their communities and working on interesting projects. I can't keep up. I could write 24/7 posting links and information. This is a good problem to have. Reading about what guys like Robert and Aaron have done at Bikeloc help continually inspire me to do what I love and believe in.

It's pretty swell that my days include reading and research, so I can bring stories and resources here. It's like a BlR learning and connecting with cool people fest. You know I like that.

Robert and Aaron~

Looks like an amazing journey you had. I know this doesn't classify as a fresh, local potluck, but I hope you noshed on an extra sugary and well deserved Voo Doo doughnut when you finally reached Portland. They are a once in a lifetime treat not to be passed up, especially if you have worked (out) so hard.

Keep up the good work!

february beach time is just as good

Somehow even if it is winter cold and cloudy, the beach is always be gorgeous and peaceful. In my 1,050 miles in the reliable BLR-Mobile this weekend, we stopped off to face the ocean and listen to the wind and waves for a few minutes at Wrightsville Beach.

BLR- Mobile at Wrightsville Beach, NC

(Yes I saw the sign. Don't worry- we didn't park there for very long. Occasionally I do follow the rules:)

Sand and salt water; Another example of a free and simple pleasure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

the one and only mocha java shake

Mocha java shake: Wilmington, NC

Maybe it's a bit ridiculous that I've written about this shake 3 times in 3 years, but it is that good. My mother and I took a little road trip to Wilmington, NC this weekend and naturally I told her she had to try it. We practically licked the cup.

I love you Port City Java, for making the single best espresso chocolate milkshake I have ever had.

what does adventure mean to you?

What I hear all the time: "My life is so boring compared to yours!" or "Well, we went and did X,Y,Z but that's no where near as cool as what you probably did."

I think that is just silly. No ones life is boring in my eyes. Funny enough, I am constantly thinking to myself, How did this amazingly smart, interesting, generous, accomplished person come into my life again? I might need to kick it up a notch to keep in that company!

"Adventure" means different things to different people. While my go to answer would usually be that I love traveling and road trips, I also know that I could (and have) made adventures out of watching paint dry, or seeing a snail walk across a sidewalk. Jet-setting or shmoozing with some big wigs at a fancy event, are not requirements for a good time or to be known to have an interesting life. The little things are an adventure, like time with people you love and a scoop of chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough. (Thanks Stef!) Why shouldn't we see as much excitement in the regularly scheduled and mundane activities as we do in the big fancy stuff?

This past weekend I posed the question: "What was your adventure this weekend?" The responses were a pleasant surprise:

*Nick said: Vereen Gardens; Calabash NC.

*Jen said: (A walk around) Church Street, Burlington, VT

*Abigail said: Bennington Free Library with a toddler.

*Danielle said: Good ol' Bennington, Vt

*Bernice said: Falling in love with my husband, again and again...

*Craig said: Atlantic city with friends. Good times.

*Donna said: Politics~ Madison, WI

*Cathy said: Meeting my sons future in-laws!!! :)

*Tom said: Sitting in the car with my daughter for 45 minutes while my wife got a salon treatment. We told each other knock knock jokes.

*Sean said: Watching OSU men's lacrosse in the 'Shoe and doing yoga!

*Emma said: During my high school reunion with 2 old high school girlfriends I:
1.) Rode in a white stretch limo to an amazing Trey concert (we called a cab)
2.) Got a free round of beers by some jagoff cutting in line, "Um, since you want to cut you can also buy my girlfriends and I beers!" go me.
3.) Had a 3 hr breakfast with the best conversation ever.
4.) Shopped for jewelry.
5.) Got a massage in my hotel room.
6.) Had the best authentic Thai food.
7.) Got hit on by the guy in front of us in line for Thai.
8.) Had "that guy" invite us to "his" concert across the street after dinner to which I replied, "Sure, if you put us on the guest list." go me again.
9.) Saw a great musician.
10.) Flirted. Got a signed copy of his album after the show.
11.) &$#&^@! and watched Justin Timberlake's "Dick In A Box" video in a hotel bed with my hommies.
12.) Laughed till dawn.
13.) slept.
AMAZING weekend for this happily married mumma of 2.

*I say: Dinner with 2 friends I hadn't seen together in months, dessert at home because bars were too loud and we are "old" now, and lots of chatter and laughter as we conked out on couches and floors, 12 year old sleep-over style.

Aren't these great? No one said they hopped a private yacht to Bali or bought diamonds and jewels. It's all time exploring, laughing with friends, exercising, yummy food, and knock knock jokes.

All of the above is what "adventure" is all about. It's what Blue Lollipop Road is all about. Toss out the supposed "boring" and lets all keep adventuring.

Thanks for sharing everyone!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

and one more makes 900!!!

Today is my 900th post.


This is hard for me to believe. So exciting. Especially because this Saturday marks the first outing/surprise/adventure and we have been working very hard on the complete rebuild of this site.

Can't wait to share more.

Check back tomorrow for stories from readers about the "adventures" they had this weekend and my run-in with a mocha java shake.

Wahoo, wahoo! 900!

I wonder what all of you out there have done 900 times or more. Send me a story won't ya?

Monday, February 21, 2011

there's a business for this?

Sign in Raleigh, NC

Word to the wise: Always keep a camera on the front seat of your car while driving. You wouldn't want to miss signs like this on weekend road trips.

I think I'm a driving and chocolate eating specialist.

What's your specialty?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

brunch time quotes

"If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way."


Thanks Humble Pie:

Humble Pie menu

Saturday, February 19, 2011

this platter didn't have a chance against 5 women

Of course I was happy to be a part of the devouring team.


Dessert plate before


Dessert plate after- YUM!

I love friends having birthdays.

Friday, February 18, 2011

who needs their own bike...

...when you can have the Conference Bike.

This thing gives a whole new meaning to team building.

(Insert infomercial voice here...)

Sweat it out during your 8 hour day wheeling away and having so much fun! And you thought that smelly guy from the cube next to you and that woman who eats Lean Cuisine frozen meals for lunch everyday weren't any fun! Well now you can discover all you ever wanted and more about your coworkers with the Conference Bike- YEAH!

(It is truly amazing how much I crack myself up.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

can you imagine?

It's nice having people in my life that are 6,000 times smarter than I am. My hodge podge of friends keep me on my toes. One friend I have, who's brain is on a different universe than mine (meaning on the brilliant universe)- works for Corning. He just sent me this video.

Possibilities with Corning Glass:

These are the kinds of things my friends work on during their days? Blows my mind.

With technology like this, soon enough I'll be able to buy a robot that senses when I have a craving for chocolate chip cookies, it will insta-bake and deliver them to me with some icy cold milk. Now I think that would be the perfect addition to all this glass amazingness.

i guess this means i'm a bad ass

Love this bumper sticker

I love spotting funny bumper stickers. Especially ones like these, on trucks.

I know you all out there must have some too. Send them to me at diane(@)bluelollipoproad.com and I will post them!

surprises continued...

Did I mention we are completely rebuilding the BLR site too?

Indeed we are and little worker bees we have been. I just love a head to toe makeover.

Keep checking back and spreading the word. Oh the many adventures to come...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

everybodys girl friday

Word of the Day for Wednesday, February 16, 2011

factotum \fak-TOH-tuhm\, noun:

A person employed to do all kinds of work or business.

it's 4:06am

Obviously I just gave up on trying to sleep, so I'm now sitting here in the dark on my laptop.

If you are a regular reader here, I know you have been waiting patiently for next project announcement. Thank you! I've been working my booty off day and night on all things Blue Lollipop Road. While we all know hard work pays off, it's also pretty tough to force those aha moments that bring all that hard work together. Sometimes we have to wait. I am so bad at waiting, but I've been holding off on announcing the next project BLR because there was a tiny little piece missing that didn't quite feel right yet. (We've all learned that lesson right? Good gut feeling is key.) Today that tipping point, my tiny little missing piece for the next project BLR came unexpectedly while chatting with a friend over coffee. Now it feels right, so let the project roll...Whoop whoop!

The best things always seem to come in unplanned moments and when you're not even trying. Don't you just love that?

Other things I continually find to be true:

1.) If you commit to something, give it full-on blood, sweat, tears, and are organized too, you won't fail.
2.) Being authentic is the only way to be.
3.) You get what you give.
4.) If you don't ask, no one will ever say yes.
5.) In order to do something you have to start doing it first.
6.) If you focus on what you're best at and well experienced in, there will be no such thing as "competition."

Hold tight, the ride gets better and better! The next Blue Lollipop Road will be announced by March 1.

Insomnia is a total bummer, unless of course the only reason you can't sleep is because you are just too excited to...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

sharing is nice

If you are reading this and like what you see, look left <--- and click "Share this" on Facebook or Twitter. Spread the word, spread the love.

Thanks for coming on the ride with me!

snail mail rules

Wandering around the Xpedx paper warehouse is fun. I geek out on sending snail mail, so naturally this is a place I like to visit. Xpedx supplies print shops and stationary companies with papers all colors of the rainbow, envelopes in every size, brand, and more.

I took a stroll in today as I do a couple times a year wondering if anyone actually likes those gold-embossed Hallmark cards with bad poetry that cost 4 bucks each. Why not go to a supply store and make something personal instead? Fun + uber cheap + get crafty. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

I like to peruse the clearance wall of overflow, wrong orders, and returns. All kinds of goodies:




Last summer I got some fantastic recycled card stock. I picked out the size envelopes I wanted, had the card stock cut down, stamped my BLR on them and voila, my own stationary. Plenty of empty space to write completely personal notes.

Whether it's 2011 or 2111 one thing is for sure: Emails, texts, Facebook or other, will never compare to a hand written love note, a homemade birthday card, or a surprise letter just to say hi.

Who will you write your next letter to?

Monday, February 14, 2011

look mom... i can run again!

I got exactly what I wanted for Valentines Day: Vibrams FiveFingers.

If you know me, you know I love to run. Running to me, is one of the best forms of therapy, zoning time and of course that thing which allows me to continually participate in my Oreo and Nutella habit. (By the way did you know that Oreos are vegan? Score! Something else I just thought of for the first time too: Oreo blue is the same shade of blue as Blue Lollipop Road blue. Can we blame the color twin as the reason for my addiction?)

Anyway, back to running:

As you will hear in my below video, I acquired some serious injuries after way over training for a marathon In 2004. 55 miles a week in traditional running shoes will do that to you. I used to run races regularly and I've only been able to run 3 miles at a time since then, which for someone like me feels like losing an arm. I love running about as much as I love traveling and chocolate. My horribly painful IT band issues have left what feels like a forever bump on the outside of my right knee. Fittings at various stores, long chat's with "professionals", Gait training, stretching practically every way including hanging from a chandelier, yoga, different shoes, new shorter stride, blah, blah, blah, you name it- I have done it and spent on it, I still have major pain and swelling when I wear traditional running shoes. The shoes have been the culprit.

A year and a half ago, I had one of those days and took off running, completely zoned out on the beach. When my brain broke free from my stress zone, it registered that I'd run about 6/7 miles. I stopped dead in my tracks and remember exclaiming "Holy sh*t! I just ran way over 3 miles barefoot and I have no swelling or pain?!" It's as if a doctor had just told me I'd be able to walk again.

After that beach run, I started running barefoot whenever I could. When I was on rough surface and couldn't go totally barefoot worrying about foot protection, I wore some ridiculous non-sport fashion-y shoes which were essentially flip flops that tied up. It scared the crap out of me to put on a regular running shoe. I ran like that 6 days a week for about 4 months. Even though I felt healthier and less swollen then I had in years, at some point I started doubting my research. I also think it was hard to permanently break my habit of those traditional shoes. So what did I do? Glutton for punishment, I went out and bought another pair of traditional running shoes. That was a mistake and like all the rest I had bought before, a waste of my money. The Nike Free is what I got. They were Ok, but still made my leg swell. That pair is now retired for zumba class only, never again for a run.

After all these years I have learned my lesson.

The only time I have no pain or swelling when I run, is when I'm barefoot. Makes sense right? Any shoe with cushion, arch, etc. whether it's an everyday shoe, a heel, sneaker, whatever- throws off the alignment of your spine, forces your foot to do something it doesn't do naturally. In the end makes you injured. There are many arguments as to whether or not running barefoot or like barefoot will ruin your body. Well, running is always going to wreak havoc on your legs. We all know that. It is what it is. All I know is that less pain while wreaking havoc on my body is better than excruciating pain. Vibrams might not work for everyone, but they sure work for me.

I wore them on a treadmill yesterday. No pain, no swelling. (YIPPEE!) Here are my before and after run videos from this morning. (Excuse the sideways shots and long winded 2nd video. I was very excited, the run was a success, and who needs to edit? These things are a one shot deal.)

Sorry Nike, Adidas, Reebok and other; I'll reserve you for sports bras and soccer cleats only. Vibrams have given my feet protection from elements while allowing them to strike how nature intended. I have officially ditched your shoes and the pain and suffering that comes with them.

Anyone out there who has heartbreakingly given up a running hobby, career or race- try out some Vibrams. I'll see you back out on the road!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

it sure does

Check out this site Makes Me Think. The name of the site says it all.

Thanks for sending this Bob.

up for some music and fashion?

Me too!

We are in luck. The Grammy Awards are on tonight at 8pm EST.

I'm all about snuggling up under a blanket on a chilly Sunday night, catching up on emails and writing snail mail while watching these awards shows. One of my favorite ways to prep for a busy week ahead.

Let the red carpet begin!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

nutella sweepstakes?

I am so in!

They are giving away a case a month. I just entered to win.

You can too. Click here for details. The hitch is, if you win you have to share a few jars with me, deal? (Or you can just come meet me, I will provide the Oreos for dipping and we will just share all around:)

Dear Nutella~

I love you. Will you be my Valentine?

my name is diane and i'm a...


Chocoholic was the fantastically delicious event I was at last night.

From cupcakes, to cookies, to chocolate cocktails and chocolate fountains, (white, milk, dark, champagne, mint, chili, cinnamon flavored and even caramel and peanut butter ones!)- we were one happy crew of indulging friends. Of all the treats, my favorite of the night was the sea salt caramels covered in dark chocolate. Here's a recipe to make them. The perfection is in the combo of salty and sweet. Mmmm...

Naturally during the course of hundreds of ravenous sugar lovers roaming and noshing, there were bound to be drips and drops flying everywhere. This poor sign didn't see it coming:

Splashes of chocolate at Chocoholic event

Gee, I wonder why I was wide awake until 2am this morning.

I'm still smiling from my chocolate high.

and more...

I just love audience participation!

From reader Gretchen. Her ttaa:

*Getting the car and starting the drive for a very long road trip
*Watching (my kids) N and G learn and love the excitement of accomplishing and conquering something new
*The sense of peace I find in going for a hike
*A quiet house: (Kids asleep)…husband out with his friends, drink in hand, TV/remote to myself :)
*That first sip of coffee...Yuuummmmmmmmmmmm

Notice all these things that are awesome readers have shared are free or really cheap? Isn't that great?

reader ttaa

From Gabi:

*The warmth of the sun on your skin when you're cold
*Watching a live concert of a band/artist you love
*Cookies and cream ice-cream (topped with a lot of chocolate syrup)

From Troy:

*The smell of fresh cut grass.
*The giggle or smile of a child/baby.
*Chinese take out on the second day...always better.

Thanks guys! Love these. Anyone else want to share?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

here comes v-day

"Happiness exists in action. It exists in telling the truth and saying what your truth is, and it exists in giving away what you want the most."

~Eve Ensler

What a fantastic woman.

Watch her in one of her many TED Talks here and pass it on.


In going back into the Blue Lollipop Road archives recently, I had forgotten that I used to write about TTAA (Things That Are Awesome.) Here's one I wrote while in Chicago a couple years ago. I am bringing back the TTAA, so look for it regularly moving forward. Here's some from yesterday:

Driving by old antique stores that have rusty signs on the side:

Two Frogs on a Bike Antique store

Zoning out at a stoplight and looking up to see the sky and clouds look like this:

Winter sunset sky

French fries. Zumba. Catching up with friends you haven't seen in almost 3 years. Coming home to a new fashion magazine in the mail. Knowing that it's GOT to get warmer eventually. Looking forward to weddings. Looking forward to road trips. Owning who you are and what you do. Reading books friends have written. Phone calls from friends across the country.

Post a comment here and share what you think is awesome!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

bored sitting there at your desk during lunch?

See Sean during 1 of his 52 jobs. Webisode here. Good stuff, great people. Watch one and you'll be hooked.

a little morning drive

Today I had to drive deep into the country to a county office to pay my car taxes. (My current home base is off the beaten path.) While most would've grumbled about a 15 mile detour, I was thrilled. It's amazing where my thoughts go, in just a few minutes driving in silence on a road I've never been on before. I'll be road tripping to North Carolina and Florida within the next month. I'm sure you can imagine how excited I am for that. (Good thing I've got a Honda!) It feels like a dream that it's my job to do all this. It's hard to believe all the places the BLR-Mobile has been:

BLR-Mobile entering Avenue of the Giants

...and oh the many more places it will go...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

time flies when you're having fun

Two years ago in February, I was riding a double decker bus...

Double decker bus ride, Argentina

...traveling to see places like Iguazu Falls...

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

...taking boat rides into the falls...

Boat at Iguazu Falls, Argentina

...having yummy vegetarian lunch (which is laughable considering we were in Argentina)...

Lunch in Argentina

...taking gondola rides over Salta...

Gondola ride in Salta, Argentina

...strolling in the warm sun near San Lorenzo gazing at beautiful flowers...

Flowers in Argentina

...finding fresh fruits on the street...

Fruit on the streets near San Lorenzo

...then running through a hail storm like I had never seen before, drenched, laughing and freezing to get back to the hostel...

Hail storm in Cafayete

...to eat dinner with friendly and interesting strangers from around the world...

Dinner with the Salta hostel peeps

As I imagine my brother adventuring around on gorgeous beaches today in Thailand, (where he's currently traveling) it makes me happy to know that just like when we were in Argentina together 2 years ago, he is making memories, meeting people and having experiences he will never forget.

Here's to dreaming it, then doing it- because that's all it takes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

i'm calling for a heat wave

I don't know about you but I am so over this winter. By that I mean SO OVER this winter. It seems like the skies are more grey and the temperatures are consistently colder than previous winters. I cannot wait for the heat and sun again. As I was daydreaming of the summer, this photo I took of my morning coffee overlooking the beach in North Carolina's Outer Banks came to mind:

View from my coffee in OBX

Off in the far distance? Yep, that's the beach....the warm, warm beach...

Come back to us warmth, come back I beg of you.

i want to be a roadmonkey

I get to talk to them today so I might just be one before to long! Exciting. Very, very exciting. Check out everything about Roadmonkey here and spread the good word.

What have you done to give back to a community that has given to you?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

amen dude

I just sent a note to the guy who wrote this article and asked him if was living inside my mind. Minus the getting chicks and super-boozing parts (because I happen to like dudes and I enjoy a cocktail but don't regularly tie one on) it's as if his words were taken out of my mouth. I have written almost this exact article before.

Boris, you are the male version of me. Scary and fantastic.

Readers, see article below from The Single Dude's Guide to Life & Travel:

Escape the Corporate Prison
By Boris

If you’re anything like me once you got a taste of what life really has to offer (or at least what life outside the Western world really has to offer) you can’t get enough of it. You have one little problem though: two weeks of vacation (or four to six if you live in Western Europe) just isn’t enough. If you’re like most young professionals out there as I was, you probably spend 40% or more of your waking hours working as a corporate slave chained to a desk in a cube. To add insult to injury you probably spend another 10% or more of your waking hours driving to and from that corporate prison.

Sure you travel and experience the possibility of something else a few weeks a year and every long weekend you can get your hands on, but it just isn’t close to enough and makes your regular life seem that much worse. The experience of going from hell to paradise and back again gets harder and harder and begins to effect your mood at home.

As your mental health suffers so does your physical health. You spend 8-10 hours at your desk and 2 hours stuck in traffic and it’s 8pm at night by the time you walk in the door to your Ikea apartment and now you have to worry about dinner. Do you pay too much to order in or eat out or do you throw together some mediocre concoction comprised of whatever food you can find in your refrigerator that doesn’t resemble some kind of science experiment? All you want to do is sit down on the couch with a glass of Johnny Red (you can’t afford black on the pittance they pay you) and drink yourself into a stupor. You go out sometimes at home but now that you know what you’re missing the the sight or more often the sounds these American girls makes you sick. Their incessant, vapid, vacuous ramblings are like nails on a chalk board. You would give your left nut for another night with your favorite Latin American beauty queen or Eastern European princess but she’s oh so far away. Going to the gym on a regular basis is virtually impossible with a schedule like yours, so now you’re probably getting fat which further affects your mental health and self-esteem. It’s a vicious cycle.

But there is another way! The first step is to escape from the rat race. Now I’m not going to tell you can just invent a website today and zip off to the Caribbean tomorrow and only work 4 hours per week as advocated in The Four Hour Work Week, however you should read that book. As I see it you have four basic options for freeing yourself geographically:

1.) Live off savings, trust fund or proceeds of the sale of a business you already own, etc.
2.) Convince your boss to let you “work from home”
3.) Become an entrepreneur
4.) Derive your income from “the arts”

Let’s examine your options in depth:

Live off savings, trust fund, proceeds of the sale of a business you already own, etc.: Fuck you if you’re lucky enough to have this option. You don’t need help or advice, you just need balls. Go do it. Stop living the safe life, stop pursuing more material possessions and a bigger payday that you don’t need when you can already go live the life of your dreams now. It’s cheaper than you think.

Convince your boss to let you “work from home”: Some people have managed to pull this off and Tim Ferris gives a formula for doing it in The Four Hour Work Week but for every one person that can pull it off I bet there’s a thousand or more that can’t. More power to you if you can do it but most people can’t. Besides I’d rather make $20,000 per year working for myself than $40,000 working for somebody else. Fuck that, once you’ve been your own boss you’ll never go back.

Become an entrepreneur: Easier said than done. Requires a lot of up front effort, dedication and discipline. Also will require a lot of trial and error and a willingness to fail outright and try again. My father once imparted upon me a great piece of wisdom: there is a high correlation between 8th grade dropouts and successful entrepreneurs. It’s not that there’s no value in education, it’s just that these individuals didn’t have the luxury of giving up. They had to make their businesses work. The most important thing in entrepreneurship is not to give up. Being an entrepreneur is a huge topic and I will write a follow-up article in the future. For the moment I will again recommend you read The Four Hour Work Week along with Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves and Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant. Make sure you’ve read those books and start doing a little brain storming with yourself and any like-minded friends you may have and you’ll be well on your way.

Derive your income from “the arts”: If you’re lucky enough to have the talent and dedicated enough to develop that talent, become an artist of some type, performing or otherwise. If you make your living as an artist chances are that you can either: a) do your work from anywhere or b) get paid to travel. Some people can even do both. Charlie and ¡Raul! are a couple of class A examples. If you are already an artist but you feel you’re tied to your location, chances are you aren’t really, at least not as much as you think. Unless you make 15 ton sculptures out of metal in a airplane hanger you probably don’t really need to be anywhere in particular. Even if you do there is probably a cheaper airplane hanger somewhere else more desirable to live with cheaper metal to boot. Rethink your life and strategize accordingly.

Freeing yourself geographically is a long term project, not an over night decision, however it could be the most rewarding thing you ever do for yourself. It also can be a lot less expensive than you might imagine. If you travel anything like we do you may find that sometimes you actually save money by going on vacation. Why not make your entire life like that? The first year I spent as a geographically free man was in a place that I would call “middle of the road” in terms of price among our favorite destinations. I spent less than my annual salary at my first job after college and it paid for:

1) Rent for a fully furnished 1 bedroom apartment in a relatively new building with all the modern conveniences including air conditioning, internet, and security.

2) The ability to eat out and go out drinking whenever I wanted and wherever I wanted. And I did, I partied my ass of in the best clubs with reservations, VIP tables and bottle service. I also ate every meal in at least a moderate scale restaurant or had food delivered. I never needed to cook.

3) The ability to travel about the region relatively freely and do things like visit the beach and go skiing, staying in hotels or guest houses when I did.

4) No need for a car, I took a taxi wherever I went. On less than double my budget you could own a car and have a private driver in many places.

5) Paid way less taxes.

6) Generally wanted for nothing.

The best part is that I was still figuring shit out, it could easily be done for less knowing what I know now. If you’re not a heavy drinker you can knock thousands off your budget right there. I never did a breakdown but I would have to say if I made a pie chart of my total budget, “drinks in clubs” would definitely be the big piece.

Freeing yourself geographically is the best way to live the best possible lifestyle. If you want to move past the rat race and the tyranny of low quality western women this is key.

Even if you aren’t in a position to fully or permanently unplug now, why not embrace The Four Hour Work Week concept of “mini-retirements”? Whatever your case 99% of people certainly could live a better, happier more fulfilling lifestyle – they just don’t want to put in the up front effort to make it happen. Don’t be one of those guys. The world is your oyster. Fuck your boss. Fuck your desk. Fuck rush hour traffic. And most importantly, Fuck Mondays! I love Mondays! I don’t mind spending 8 hours a day in my office. My office is our favorite coffee shop full of hot chicks wherever we happen to be that week. It’s where we write our blog and I run my businesses remotely using nothing more than a laptop. I love my life. How many people do you know that can say that and mean it? Do you want to be able to say that? Then make your life into a life that will allow you to.

Free yourself from the rat race. Start living or keep dying.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

game? there's a game on?

I can't lie. Even though I love sports and have always been an athlete, all I really care about tomorrow for the Superbowl party is:

1.) Socializing
2.) Commericals
3.) Food
4.) A few good beers
5.) Halftime show with the Black Eyed Peas

What football? (I know, all you legitimate cheese-head and Steeler fans are cringing right now, sorry.)

My friend who's hosting the party sent out a "BYO burger or dogs, we are firing up the grill!" As to be expected for a chill, sporty get-together. I am not a burger or dog kind of girl (unless I'm at Wrigley Field) so what to bring? I don't want to be fancy, this is not a formal dinner party- that's next weekend. I can't exactly break out a cucumber salad. The word "salad" is almost illegal on Superbowl Sunday, we all know that.

Maybe I'll make those extra crispy garlic parmesan fries that are always a fan favorite. Mmmm...

Anyone have a great idea for a yummy veggie side-dish, dip, or other you want to share?

Friday, February 4, 2011

on the ice cream subject

A gift idea:

I was just telling a friend about the Ben & Jerry's pint cozy so I had to share with you all here. This thing is a must have if you're a fan of those yummy pints. I've had one for years. I love to give it as a gift along with some other goodies in a bag to expectant mothers or other people like me who just can't keep their hands off ice cream. No more paper towel wrapped around your pint while you dig away with your hands frozen!

Another brilliant creation from Ben and Jerry.

i can have all the toppings i want?!

I don't know about you, but usually when I am road tripping and hit up DQ or whatever other roadside ice cream place to get my chocolate fix, I find myself wanting to say: "Come on dude- add another scoop of M&M's!" or "Feel free to put in 96 Oreos if you wish. I can handle it." Often when I order ice cream there are just not enough chunks of goodness in my cup. (A terrible problem to have.) Enter: Verry Berry.

Verry Berry is a grab a cup, pull your own ice cream or frozen yogurt...

Verry Berry machines

...load up any amount of goodies your little heart desires, from fruits to nuts to all things chocolate...



...and enjoy.


They leave piles of Post-it notes and Sharpies on the tables, for those feeling creative (which of course we did.) Write what you wish, plaster them on a big ol' Post-it wall:

Post-it Wall at Verry Berry

Our Verry Berry notes

A treat and entertainment for only 2 bucks. Whatta deal! I would have never walked into the place had it not been for my 2 young pals Lily and Thabea who I was looking after. The kids always know where the best treats are.

Thanks girls! Pencil me in for a Verry Berry date again soon. This makes the favorites list for sure.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

whoop whoop!

Yesterday we had the most hits ever. (As in visitors here.) That deserves a big CHEEEEEERS! So? Some bubbly:

Bubbles at Mumm Napa

Those delightful glasses were the ones I sipped at Mumm Napa during a day off in the Valley this fall. I love some good bubbles. Especially bubbles at Mumm.

Baby steps have turned into big steps. We are hitting the tipping point with Blue Lollipop Road. Every new reader, shout out, comment and collaboration we get to work on makes me screech with delight. Thanks everyone!

Keep reading and spread the word. More to come and it's going to get even better!

Cheers to trusting your gut and following what you love.

What are you all following out there?

oh don't you think...

...I have forgotten about letting you in on that project launch. It's coming.

Hint: I like to talk to strangers.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

cold hard cash is so much better

Ever wonder why people don't just give you cash for gifts? Me too.

Check out Gift Card Rescue and you can sell those gift cards you've never used. I have had one from Brookstone for a while now. How many airplane next pillows can one girl buy? Time to sell that puppy and put the moolah towards some bills.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

the doozy

First, some backstory so this might all make sense a little more to anyone who might be new here:

These specific blue lollipops were an entity during the ages of about 12-18 for me. Not just me though, all the girls who played soccer at MAU. Soccer at MAU and that fall time of year was always this unexplainable force of goodness and incredible mojo. Like Texas loves high school football, Vermont loved soccer and not just for the sport but for the love of the whole package: The tryouts, practices, games, sleepovers, pasta dinners, chants, songs and laughter. I suppose every kid has some kind of "thing" that happens in high school when they learn the world is their oyster. Soccer, and the team was our "thing." The time we spent together meant the world to each and every one of us. It was as if the outside world almost disappeared. We were simply loving life and living in our little euphoria that nothing else could touch. The blue lollipops were our common food group, nearly every photo of all those above stated games, sleepovers, etc. involved us all making blue-tongued smiley faces at the camera. They were the mascot of the team, that extra best friend and fun constant that never failed us.

Then August 18, 1994 happened. That's when 2 of our best friends./teammates were killed in a car accident just as the season had started. Things would never be the same for any of us after that.

Fast forward to 2008, I want to start writing more and someplace bigger than my journals. I felt an overwhelming desire to share my life and stories about how lucky I have been to be healthy and experience all these amazing adventures and time with people I love. Of course the biggest reason why I had been able to do all these great things is because I had lived through this monstrous tragic loss and learned this horribly hard lesson that time and people are the only things that truly matter. Saying that, the only name/thing that entered my mind to brand my site was "Blue Lollipop" something. (The "Road" came after as an add on because I love travel.) I wanted this thing, this blog whatever it was to become to honor my lost friends, and my time with all the girls who made me laugh and feel alive during those soccer seasons at MAU.

So I write and babble and write and babble for hundreds of posts and nearly 2 years, thinking everyday about blue lollipops and my frends.

The 16/16 death anniversary (years lived/years gone) is approaching last spring and I can't get out of my head that I need to drive to Alaska. I wanted to be there for the anniversary, to honor a promise made to my lost friends and myself to hit state #50. I drive alone to Alaska with blue lollipops in tow, am there for the anniversary, and leave blue lollipops behind for my lost friends.

Best thing I have ever done.

Driving through Canada en route to Alaska, out of nowhere I think yep, I am getting a tattoo. I'll get a blue lollipop. Our blue lollipop to be more specific. I keep it a secret which is nearly impossible for me to do when I am excited about something, ask old soccer coach, mentor and one of the coolest women on the planet Traci to draw the tattoo that I will get, she draws it, and I brand myself for life 1 month ago with a blue lollipop.

Clearly these blue lollipops mean a lot to me.

I typically contact companies/people I write about thanking them for whatever yummy meal I may have had at their establishment, or their product or business I think is cool. Each and every person or business has been thankful, excited, and even done things like pass the link to my site around their office, welcome me back for complimentary meals, or asked me to stop by when I am in their town again. These responses have all been unexpected pleasant surprises. I've never asked for anything, I just think it's nice to say thank you when you enjoy something/someone.

Of course throughout my writing and molding the future for Blue Lollipop Road, readers and friends have suggested I solicit sponsorships, or try to collaborate/work with these companies and things I write about consistently to help support myself so I'm able to continue to take time to write. Great idea right? Sure. I've been working on those potentials for a long while. Some have already happened, some are in the works, and more will be to come in the future. I have been most excited to talk with Tootsie Roll Industries where these special blue lollipops come from and Honda for my countless miles my Hondas have taken me. These are the two items/companies that I have written most about. I've acted like a free walking billboard for them.

Honda is great. I am in touch with them, we have some good things in the works, and the people who work for Honda North America have been very gracious, responsive and thankful about my enthusiasm. I'm very much looking forward to working with them.

Tootsie Roll Industries? Please see previous post to prep for what I am about to write.

I wrote to Tootsie several weeks ago now, with no response. I wrote them again. Just a note saying "Hi! I love your products and I write this blog. I'd love to talk with you!" (Reminder: I am not asking for anything and don't plan to. I simply want to talk to them.) No response so I decide to call them today. Early bird gets the worm I figure, and who knows where my emails have gone to in the abyss of the internet anyway. I dial and here's exactly how my call went:

Operator: "Tootsie Roll Industries?"

Me: "Hi, may I please speak to someone in marketing or public relations?" (In my most genuinely excited, hopeful, cheery tone that continues throughout the entire conversation.)

(She transfers me.)

Woman on other end: "This is Janet" (A painfully short, rude tone from here that continues throughout the entire conversation.)

Me: "Hi Janet! My name is Diane and I'm a big fan or your product, am a constant customer, and have written a blog for a few years that's actually named after one of the Tootsie Roll products. I'd love to get to know more about your company as I continue to write."

Her: "We do all advertising and marketing work in house."

Me: "Oh, no problem, I am not asking to do marketing for you, I was just hoping to learn a bit more about the product and company."

Her: "There's product information on the website."

Me: "Yes, I know that, I have read it through thoroughly, I'd just love to know a bit more about the company overall, possibly about any fun marketing campaigns you might do, or maybe your community involvement, programs, things of that nature. I'd love to be able to write more on my blog about any interesting things Tootsie Roll Industries does. I like sharing this information with my readers."

Her: "We work with the military, that's all we say."

Me: "Ok, so is there any information you can share at all with me about any of the good things you do? Maybe you are involved with events, do sponsorships, or... (cuts me off.)

Her: "We don't do sponsorships."

Me: "I apologize, maybe I sound confusing. I'm hoping to get some sort of information about the product I love and promote, your company. I'd like to be able to continue to write about your candy and share news about any interesting, fun, or community type programs you all might be involved in."

Her: "We don't do that."

Me: (At this point I wanted to tell her that she was a miserable moron and to throw me a freaking bone or something...but I didn't. I continued my cheery and hopeful tone...) "Um, I am a bit disappointed. I am simply trying to learn a bit more about this product I love so much and that I write about. Are you telling me that you can share no information whatsoever about anything at all so I can bring back a great story to my readers? I just don't understand."

Her: "Sorry."

Me: "I'm confused and again have to say I am disappointed. You are telling me as a longstanding customer calling you in hopes to continue loving your product, there is not the slightest little tidbit of anything you are willing to share about Tootsie Roll Industries? Is there a place I can go to research, just anything you can tell me at all?....Nothing?"

Her: "Sorry."

Me: "Uh, er-Ok then. Well, if you ever become curious about where I have been writing about you for years in a positive way, you can see my blog at www.bluelollipoproad.com.


Me again: "Well, I guess then good luck with everything and thanks for your time!"


I hang up and all I can do is shake my head.

I have encountered jerks in my life, people aren't always butterflies and rainbows- I get it. Bad days, yadda yadda. This woman wasn't having a bad day, she was just awful. I mean rude, short, and could've given a flip if I was the Pope calling her. She didn't ask a single question of me. No gee thanks for writing about us but you are taking up my time. Not a you know what- I am not sure where you could find X,Y,Z but maybe you could read this article about us, or hey sorry- I'm not the right person to talk to, maybe Bob can help. NOTHING.

So there I sat, feeling deflated, disappointed and like someone just socked me in the gut. After 16-plus years of this thing, this company, this blue lollipop that means so much to me, the thing that is tattooed in ink on my body forever...that is going to be what I have in my head for where those precious blue lollipops come from?!

It gets worse.

I call back to the main #, the same operator transfers me back to the icy woman I spoke with. I remind her I just spoke with her, she remembers me and I ask her title and name. Her name is Janet Vasilenko and she is the Consumer Relations Manager. Thank you, I say repeating all this information back to her including the spelling of her name to confirm, then I hang up.

Mouth hits the floor.


Wow. Shame on you Tootsie Roll Industries. You need some serious consulting on what community relations means.

I know some of you might be thinking, well Di- she could have been busy, maybe she thought you were asking for $, etc. Believe me, I wished it were that, but no. It wasn't that at all. She just flat out didn't care, she tossed me aside, and was completely rude from the get go. She was about as helpful as a screen door on a submarine. Words aren't going to be able to convey her heartless tone, and utter I don't give a shit attitude. Just terrible.

I am a big girl at 32 and sticks and stones. Come on- I can take it, but my god I didn't realize until today how unbelievably protective I have felt over this little blue lollipop all these years. I couldn't help but feel in that moment that this Janet Consumer Relations Manager woman stomped all over this thing that means so much to me.

I don't ever want to be like Janet.

The whole point of Blue Lollipop Road is to promote learning, enjoying and appreciating the people and little things all around us. It's purpose is to encourage all of us to go for what we want and live the life we love whatever that means to each of us. This post isn't to hate on someone specific or a company. It's to tell the truth and share how I will always keep pushing and keep a smile even when I'm disappointed. Anyone else out there, if you are knee deep in the middle of something you believe in and someone tries to bury you, keep digging. People can try to take things, break things and they might severely disappoint you at times, but only you have the power to focus and thrive and not let the misery of some others bring you down.

My idea of this place that makes my special blue lollipops is broken and bruised. I'm sure I will always feel disappointed about that, but it's Ok. Just a hurdle in the road going exactly where it needs to. I know what the power of the blue lollipop means regardless of what life brings my way.

Dear Janet~

I really hope you find your strong mojo somehow. You are really missing out on this whole enjoying life thing.

Maybe you should try a blue lollipop.


this one's gonna be a doozy

Ok, I know I have said that before, but trust me- the post that will be up before I go to bed tonight will leave you dumbfounded. I just spoke to Janet Vasilenko, the Consumer Relations Manager for Tootsie Roll Industries. (Yes, the Charms Blue Razz Blow Pops that we so love and all the rest of those candy goodies.)

To say that within one 3 minute conversation, someone single handedly (figuratively) pummeled me in the face with a baseball bat, told me there was no such thing as Santa, the Easter Bunny, or true love, and took the hugest shit in my Wheaties, is a severe understatement.

The positive out of this? Out of this 3 minute conversation, I was gifted another enormous mountain of reasons as to why I believe in the work I do, feel happy about how I spend my time, and what my overall devotion/drive/ambition to Blue Lollipop Road means. Lets just say the fire I did not need any more fuel for, just got a whopping delivery.

Thanks Janet and Tootsie Roll Industries. You are really something else.

Readers: Check back for a full post later tonight. A doozy it shall be.