Life Update: March & April

Hi Friends! It’s been a while since we chatted, so I figured I should update you on what’s happening behind the blog! Prepare for a ramble! (Note: I actually started writing this post on March 17… and then again on April 2. Oops). 

The meeting that I had at the beginning of March went well… it was actually my interview for my district minister’s license. So, starting in April, you can officially call me Pastor! After getting my district license, I’ll have so many years to complete my classes and work as a pastor until I move toward ordination. It’s so crazy to think about how I ended up here. If you had told me even two years ago that I would be taking this path, the path of full-time ministry,  I probably would have laughed in your face.

Speaking of which, I cannot believe that I have been at my job for a year (it was a year on March 18). If I am being completely honest, this is definitely the most difficult job I have ever had, but I know that it is exactly where I am supposed to be. That week was really bittersweet because it was also a year since we lost Pastor D. Looking back over the last 12 months is a bit overwhelming. There has been so much change! Some of it has been really hard and some of it has been incredible…either way, God is in control.

I have not had a lot of time to just sit down and reflect on all of this until recently. Yes, we are still grieving this loss, but God has been so faithful to us! He has revealed Himself, even in the midst of tragic circumstances. I cannot even wrap my head around how much He has carried me through in the last year. Even in the moments of doubt (and there have been a few!), He shows up.

So, though it was a tough first year, I have also been very blessed. The song It Is Well has come up so many times throughout this year and our lead pastor mentioned it in her sermon on the 20 (which was the anniversary of D’s death). Not gonna lie, I had a few “moments” on that Sunday.

IMG_0524

In other news, Farmer Ben and I took a vacation a couple of weeks ago and it was awesome. We got to spend time with the family, including this cute little lady!

IMG_0406.jpg

She looks so much like my sister it’s crazy! (And said sister would kill me if she knew I posted this. Ha!)

IMG_0387

We also drove around the finger lakes, ate way too much and I did something a little wild (for me)….

thumb_IMG_0411_1024IMG_0341

I got my nose pierced! My sister and I decided to do it together. She even caught my blood, that’s a good sister! Bahaha!

I also got to show Ben the sites and all of the places I hung out as a kid, including the ice skating rink. I have so many amazing memories there! We didn’t have much time to actually go skating because of the hockey schedule, but it was nice to show Ben some of my past.

thumb_IMG_0152_1024

Side note: I JUST now noticed the hockey player falling in the background! 

In other news, we moved! We were renting a cute little house just outside of town but we just moved into a house that’s about 1/2 mile from the church. Not gonna lie, I will definitely miss our sunny little kitchen in the mini-house.

thumb_IMG_0588_1024

We are currently in the midst of finishing up renovations/painting/cleaning but we have all of our belongings in one place now and even have a lot of them unpacked!

thumb_IMG_0602_1024

While I am a little sad to be leaving our old place, it was the perfect time to move on. I loved our mini-house but it was just a hair too small and we were starting to feel it (note to self: one closet for two people is rough!). I am most excited about having an office and a guest room. I am on the hunt for the perfect desk.

This month has been full of lots of fun things besides the move. I was very excited when I got to spend a few hours with some of my favorite people from high school. Two of them were in town visiting so we randomly got together for lunch and coffee.

thumb_IMG_0568_1024

Ben and I also spent some time at our friends’ maple farm to help them out with an event and eat copious amounts of maple syrup/drink lots of sap water coffee. It was rough. We even got to go for a ride!

thumb_IMG_0481_1024

In other news, I started doing an online bootcamp with Erica House. We are doing a carb-cycling program, complete with workouts. So far, I am really loving it, especially the accountability. With my schedule, it is all too easy for me to put off doing a workout, so this is great motivation.

I’ve followed Erica’s blog for a long time so when she opened up the program I knew it would be a great fit for me! She even sent each person a sweet journal and water bottle.

I’m a week into it and so far I am feeling pretty good. It definitely doesn’t feel like a diet and I am loving the motivation to get out and get some exercise!

thumb_IMG_0627_1024

Phew! I think that’s pretty much it! So, long story short, Farmer Ben and I have been busy!

What have all of you been up to? Any big weekend plans? Most exciting thing that’s happened in the last month? 

I have an event tomorrow and then hopefully I’ll have some time to unpack/clean/paint. Very exciting, I know!

Happy Friday!

 


Things That Drive Me Insta-Bonkers

Happy Thursday Friends!

Any big weekend plans?

I am heading to Syracuse tomorrow for a meeting on Saturday. On Saturday afternoon, Farmer Ben and I start vacation! I am SO looking forward to taking some time off. We will be visiting family, resting, and sleeping in. After almost a year of being out straight, I am totally ready.

Anyway, moving on….

I was scrolling through Instagram this morning and I have to be honest… I was bored. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Instagram and it’s really the only form of social media that I keep up with on a daily basis (I don’t use Facebook or Snapchat and Twitter is just downright overwhelming!).

I follow some amazing accounts but there seems to be a lot of monotony in my feed lately. Maybe this means it’s time for an insta-cleanse? Perhaps.

Now… I’m not saying that my own Instagram feed is perfect, because it’s definitely not. I’m so guilty of posting things that other people find super annoying (see: post-run selfies, #bigasssalads and pictures of my bulletproof coffee and eggs).

IMG_0112

That being said, it got me thinking about the things that drive me most crazy….So, here are the top five posts (in no particular order) that I am totally over!

  • Pancakes, specifically protein pancakes. I’m sorry, but there are only so many things you can do to a pancake to make it look interesting. Do I enjoy eating them? Yes. Do I want to see 123435431341341 pictures of them? No.
  • It Works anything. Come on! We get it… you love being an independent distributor, blah blah blah! Also, telling me that the wraps and vitamins will help me get a body like yours, when I’ve known you since birth and you’ve always had a super model physique is not convincing me to buy your product. Sorry. It doesn’t work like that (see what I did there?).
  • Smoothie Bowls. My apologies, but I don’t get the appeal. If I’m going to drink a smoothie, I  want it in a glass. Otherwise, it’s just a sad pretend version of ice cream.
  • Pictures of you doing a handstand. Is it awesome that you can do a handstand, heck yes! I cannot do one… Do I want to see you doing a handstand not once, not twice, but three times a day? No. There are only so many ways to make this interesting.
  • Negativity. I get it, sometimes you have trouble squeezing into your jeans, or you spill your coffee, you get in a fight with your significant other or you are just having a no-good-rotten day. But taking a completely unrelated picture or using a selfie to complain about your life, your looks or to berate your spouse on the internet? Come on. You’re better than that.

This is all meant in good fun… and totally not serious. Except maybe the protein pancakes.

Let’s chat! What drives you crazy on Instagram?! 

Also, linking up with Amanda at Running With Spoons for today’s Thinking Out Loud Post….check out some of the other posts! Thanks to Amanda for hosting the link-up!

Thinking-Out-Loud2

 

 


Stuff on My Phone

Hi Friends!

Happy Friday!  Not gonna lie, it’s been a while! Let’s catch up!

I finally crossed over to the dark side and got an iPhone a couple of weeks ago. In all honesty, I had been thinking about it for a while (since August/September) but my poor old phone was finally on its last legs, so I gave in and made the switch.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show you some pictures I’ve taken in the 2 weeks since switching phones. I have to say, the camera on this phone is WAY better than my old one and I LOVE that. I also love that I can take screen shots(as you’ll notice!)…I know… I’m like 2341343 years late to the screenshot party. It’s fine.

What you’ll find: 

  • My friends’ excitement over my finally switching to the iPhone.
  • Final grade in the last class I took (So pumped about getting that A!)
  • Screenshot of some books I recently added to my Kindle library
  • Food (Lots of food)
  • Chocolate (the BEST chocolate for baking)
  • Farmer Ben (my favorite person) and I freezing our butts off at a youth retreat
  • The not-too-shabby view at said youth retreat. Still freezing.
  • Screenshot of my workout summary on Map My Run
  • Some books I ordered and am excited to dig into (both for class and for pleasure)
  • A page I really liked in my reading for the class I just finished.

(Click on the collage to see individual photos)

Enjoy! 

 

That’s all I have for today! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

What are you taking pictures of lately? Screenshots? Let me know! (I’m really nosey like that and am dying to know!) 

 


Confessions; Life, Lately (Mostly Food).

Happy Saturday Friends!

Any exciting weekend plans? Farmer Ben and I are having some friends over for an evening of good food and games. I’m really looking forward to it!

Other than that, my back-to-school game is in full swing! Not gonna lie, I’ll be happy once my orientation class is over so I don’t have to log in every day. I probably still will… but I won’t be obligated to. That makes all the difference!

In other news, have you guys heard of EBATES? It’s stupidly easy. You sign up, download their button, and when you are on a site that gives cash back, it turns red. Once activated, you get money back! If you don’t want to download the button, you can go to the EBATES’ site and find what you’re looking for that way. I’ve gotten money back on a book for school, protein powder and a baby shower gift.

(Full Disclosure, if you sign up via the link above and make a purchase, I get $5. Thank you in advance!). 

I signed up about a month ago and I’ve already gotten $8.05 back from online purchases. My sister, on the other hand, got $26 back (I think she does more online shopping than I do). It doesn’t seem like it’s that much, but those few dollars here and there add up! You’ll either receive a check in the mail or you can have it go to your PayPal account.

Confession time… (Mostly Food)

  • Farmer Ben and I had pizza for dinner three times this week (Unless you count Sunday as last week, then it’s technically only 2 times). One of said pizzas was a “nacho pizza.” Yes, it was ridiculously good and I think I gained approximately 5 pounds.

IMG_20150903_210511

  • I am officially over summer squash and zucchini…we’ve been eating it SO MUCH and people keep giving us more! I’ve gotten creative, making a zucchini “lasagna,” and just eating it raw, dipped in hummus or dressing…and a few other ways… but there are only so many things you can do to squash. Sometime next week, we’ll have zucchini fritters and the elusive zucchini pizza crust (because clearly, we never get sick of pizza). Gulp…wish us luck!
  • I made these cupcakes with a few modifications, to use more zucchini up (and then my mom gave us 3 more). They were good but only required a cup… I may need to quadruple the recipe and freeze them!  Any suggestions for what else we should make?
  • I am really into snack plates (Always with radishes and cucumbers)… I think it’s becoming a problem…this was a recent work meeting.

IMG_20150827_175025_850

  • Farmer Ben and I have a problem with making everything boozey. The cupcakes I talked about earlier? I put Kahlua in them… And Farmer Ben? He made this…

IMG_20150820_221140_877

I can’t even.

  • I’ve been alternating between three pairs of running capris. I have other bottoms to wear, but they just aren’t as comfortable! I’ve been doing a lot of laundry the last few weeks.
  • Speaking of running… I’ve been eyeing different GPS Watches/Heart Rate Monitors… I’ve even gone as far as putting some in my online shopping cart… but I can’t convince myself to spend the money on them. Any suggestions on brand? I’m bouncing back and forth between Garmin and TomTom. Are they worth all the hype?
  • And sports bras. It’s time to cough up some cash for some new sports bras. Why is having boobs so darn expensive?!
  • Looking back over my last month of posts, I realize that I haven’t blogged about so many things…look for some major photo/catching up posts in the next week or two!

That’s all for today, Friends! Any confessions on your end? Let me know in the comments! 


Real Talk: Skoop B-Strong Review

Hi Friends!

As promised, I am back to tell you a little bit about Skoop.

I was contacted about three weeks ago to see if I’d be interested in trying this product. After checking out their website and ingredient list, I decided to give it a shot.

Full Disclosure: I was sent a bag of Skoop B Strong in exchange for a review. Per usual, all opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my time.

Let me start off by saying, I prefer to get all of my vitamins and minerals from real food. I’ve never been one to take multi-vitamins or a pill or, for that matter, drink a protein shake. I know that there are people out there who need that something extra, but I personally prefer to eat my nutrients and typically am able to do so without any troubles (and to be honest, I’m not good at REMEMBERING to take a daily vitamin).

But…there are times I can’t eat as well or as much I want to…. Like when my husband opens a restaurant.

Confession: Since the restaurant opened, I’ve been struggling to eat enough high quality food. Most of my meals are eaten in a hurry, either while I’m driving to work in the morning, hovering over a counter while trying to do six other things at once, or scarfed down on my lunch hour while trying to take care of other items on my to-do list that I no longer have time for after work.

I’ve eaten more late night slices of pizza in the last four months than I care to admit… and my body has not been happy about it.

Don’t get me wrong, pizza is delicious and portable…but it’s not something I like to eat every day…or even every week for that matter.

I’d prefer to eat a salad every day… but when you’re running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep and trying to do everything in a hurry, salads are a lot of work. And take a lot of concentration to eat.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not someone who can go without eating. If I do, I become an absolutely miserable you-know-what. I’m also not someone who likes to drink their calories…because that never actually keeps you full.

Naturally, when I was contacted to check out this product, I was skeptical… but I figured it would be worth it to at least see what they had to offer.

So what is Skoop (From their website)?

B-STRONG is a plant-based protein blend. It contains prebiotics, mediterranean fruits, fatty acids, and higher carbs to make sure your body is properly using all the nutrients it can. Plant-based protein is more easily broken down and absorbed than protein from a steak, so your body can direct more energy toward healing and extra energy.”

Another plus? They use ingredients I can pronounce. It’s protein powder, but made from REAL foods.

“B-STRONG contains a well-rounded profile of nutrients, which every meal requires. Single plants generally don’t contain all the essential amino acids necessary to create a complete protein, so we used plants that complement each other. B-STRONG gives you all the essential amino acids your body needs to prevent muscle breakdown and loss. Use B-STRONG to help build muscle, recover faster, or just as a strength-building snack during the day.”

I also really like their business model and that they give back to the community. From the Skoop Website:

“That’s why we partnered with The Chef Ann Foundation, a non-profit that provides real, fresh fruits and veggies to public school lunch programs all over the country – programs that currently need to classify french fries, tomato sauce, and ketchup as vegetables in order to meet FDA standards.

For every serving of Skoop sold, we donate one serving of free, fresh fruits and veggies to a school lunch program. You buy a serving, you give a serving. And everyone can feel good about that. Literally”

So I decided to give it a shot.  What did I have to lose? If I hated it, I wouldn’t have wasted any money trying it out.

First things first, can I just say, I was absolutely floored when I got the package from Skoop? I was expecting a couple of sample packs … they sent me a whole bag!!! They also sent me five days’ worth of their A-game and a cute little shaker bottle! Wow!

image

I immediately tried the powder with some water to see how it blended. The result? Minimal clumping, no weird chalky aftertaste and a lightly sweet vanilla flavor. I liked the flavor but I could tell right away that it would taste even better with milk.

Since then, I’ve been mixing it up with milk (cow, almond or coconut) and if I’m feeling fancy, some cold coffee. I’ve also added it to smoothies (with almond butter, almond milk, banana, spinach or kale and some cacao).

My favorite way to drink Skoop is with coconut water, almond milk, cacoa and maca powders. The cacoa gives it a nice chocolate flavor and the maca adds some nuttiness. I also really loved adding the A-Game to my morning smoothie for a double-whammy of nutrients.

My next plan is to make some energy bites or some peanut butter cookies with it.

So is this worth buying?

After having it almost daily for the last few weeks, I would say yes! Definitely!

I’ve been drinking Skoop for a quick breakfast or as a snack before going in to work at the bistro and I’ve been full. I feel energized and haven’t had any stomach issues (This is HUGE because, if you’re waiting tables, you don’t have time to run to the bathroom).

For a plant based protein, it doesn’t have any weird after-tastes and doesn’t cause any digestion/gas issues (I know you know what I’m talking about).

I also love the ingredient list and all of the micro-nutrients. Seriously, look at this!

image

HealthySkoop.com

For all of that, a 30 serving bag is $67.

Skoop was generous enough to give me a discount code to share with you. Use the code “NOTEBOOK10” at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase.

Sidenote: My husband purchased a raw protein/meal replacement around the same time with an equally impressive ingredient list and though I like that one as well, I do notice, I wasn’t as full and had some of the previously mentioned protein farts (sorry, TMI).

Huge thank you to Skoop for sending me this product!

image

Happy Wednesday, friends!

 


Life Lately, Weird Edition

Hi friends!

Please ignore the fact that I’m behind on my blogging. To be completely honest, I have no excuse other than I’ve been struggling with some nasty headaches and their side effects. They leave me feeling drained and with little to no motivation. I’ll discuss them more in another post.

In the moments I’m not dealing with said migraines/side effects, I’ve been juggling race planning, helping with Bistro to-do items, running, catching up with friends, cooking and squeezing in moments of quality time with Farmer Ben…and you know, regular life and work stuff.

As a result, I just haven’t had the urge to sit down and blog. And I haven’t felt that I’ve had much to say.

Life is kind of weird right now…and I’m trying to wrap my head around it.

Here is some of what is happening:

For a long time, I’ve worked my regular job and then worked job number 2 at least three nights a week…typically more. I’ve had a routine that required a lot of planning and remembering, keeping my work clothes and shoes in the car and trying to keep a somewhat set schedule… but a few weeks ago my time at job number 2 ended.

I knew it would happen sooner or later…but…The circumstances were bizarre and although issues were resolved I can’t really explain how or why. I will say that my tenure was up at least a month before I was planning on it. In the end, I left on a good a note, so it worked out.

As a result, I have some unexpected free time…kind of.

I’m NOT used to just going home after work, to having a somewhat flexible schedule in the evening.  I am not a schedule oriented person, but I also don’t do well if I have a lot of free time. Needless to say, it feels weird to be finished work at 5 PM.

Granted, this will be short-lived once the bistro opens, but its been a period of adjustment. It feels a bit like… limbo.

I’m savouring this time, however, because I know in a few short weeks, the nights where Ben and I can sit down to dinner together will be few and far between.

I’ve enjoyed being able to come home and cook something delicious for the two of us. Or being able to rent a terrible movie and hang out with a glass of wine…and being able to go to bed before 10pm if the mood strikes.

I’ve also used the free hours I have to get some race details taken care of and to get out and connect with some sponsors. I’m constantly amazed at how generous people are. Have I mentioned this before?!

In addition, because spring is finally here, I’ve been able to squeeze in some runs after work.

This week, Farmer Ben used my car to run errands and such. This forced me to either run to his workplace (~4 miles) to catch a ride home or to stay cooped up in my office to catch up on little things for a couple of hours until he picked me up.

As it is finally above freezing, I’ve chosen to run more often than not. Whether it’s a long run or run/walk to catch up with a friend, I am enjoying the time outside…especially because I stare at a computer for most of the day.

image

Yup, the lake is still frozen.

I’m happy that my running mojo is coming back.

Sometimes I forget why I run… I forget that I enjoy that time of tuning out the world and just being. And that time is exactly what I’ve needed the last few weeks.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been running every day, but I am savoring the days I do get out the door.

So, that’s where I’ve been/where I am at this moment.

What have you been up to? How do you deal with times of transition? Favorite terrible movie?


Five on Friday

I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am that today is Friday…. even though I got suckered into working at job number 2 tomorrow night with the dreaded stairs (my calves are going to be ten times bigger than they already are in a couple of weeks!). This week took a lot out of me and I so looking forward to sleeping past 7:00 am. Isn’t that such a glorious feeling?

Anyway, here are five random facts for your reading pleasure:

1. Strides for James is taking over my life… and I am kind of okay with that… I’ve mentioned it before, but this is something very close to my heart and it’s a great way to give back to the community. I’m also super excited because we are getting a post-race chocolate milk donation. For the win!!!

2.I’m wondering if there is any topic that you’d like to see more of/featured more in-depth on Noelle’s Notebook… I have this slightly-larger-than-the-blog project (idea) that I’m kicking around…but I want to know that it’ll be something people are interested in. So, any input is totally welcome! Help a girl out!

2a. To go along with said project, I want to do an “ask me anything” post/series (depending on how many questions I get).

So, if you could do me a huge favor and asking me ANY of your burning questions in the comments below, I’d be forever grateful, and will be answering all questions next week. Many thanks!

3. I am STILL doing my planks and push-ups every day… I think this is the longest/most consistent I’ve ever been with sticking to one of these challenges. It makes me feel so accomplished and I can see a little more definition!

4. I don’t remember what it’s like to have long hair. In related news, I recently had a co-worker tell me he doesn’t remember me with long hair either (who has worked with me for the last 3+ years)… so I dug up this photo….

June 2012

June 2012

To compare:

December 2013

December 2013

Weird. Weird. Weird. Long or short?

5. Current Guilty Pleasure: Rum Caramel Chocolate bar from Lake Champlain chocolates… our co-op always stocks Lake Champlain chocolate but they never seem to have this kind. I hit the jackpot the other day while shopping for my foodie penpal… I sent her one and took one home to share with Farmer Ben…and I’ll probably be going back to check and see if they have more. Pricey but so worth it.

6. Bonus Fact. I got an email from a friend today with this verse and I just had to share it with you all…food for thought:

“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” -Luke 12:48, NIV

Now it’s your turn: Current guilty pleasures?  Long hair or short?

Don’t forget to ask me anything!