My apologies for being a bit behind on these updates… let’s catch up! Full disclosure: my participation has only been so-so.
I’ll come right out and say that Weeks 2 & 3 were kind of a bust. I’ve been pre-occupied with work and had an awful cold that has kicked my butt for the last two weeks… but here we go:
Monday-12/1-Handwritten note: I still need to do this and try to make a point to do this on a somewhat regular basis.
Tuesday-Eat the rainbow: Yes, Done. I’ve been really good about eating my veggies lately.
Wednesday-Go Makeup Free: this is most days, so it wasn’t really a challenge for me.
Thursday-Buddy Workout: Fail. Nothing more than walks lately.
Friday-Operation Beautiful Note: Nope. I did send some encouraging emails/texts though!
Saturday-= Pantry Purge: This is an on-going process in our house. Farmer Ben and I have a lot of food in our house, but we’ve been making a conscious effort to clean out our cabinets. Some things have been tossed, some given away and we’ve been baking/cooking up a storm to give ourselves some cabinet space.
Sunday-20 things gratitude list: Okay, I didn’t physically write out a list, but I did get to share so much that I am thankful for at my book club last weekend, so I’m counting this as complete.
Monday 12/8-Fastest Mile Challenge: To be totally honest, I haven’t done much running as of late, so this is on the to-do list.
Tuesday-Pay it Forward: I took care of something for a friend of mine. I can’t say what because I don’t want to be found out.
Wednesday-Pack a Healthy Snack: I typically bring some kind of healthy snack every day. I don’t remember what it was on this day…probably energybits or something with my homemade nut butter.
Thursday-Take Some You Time: I had an unexpected snow day (seriously, this NEVER happens at my place of employment) so I ended up having breakfast with Farmer Ben, going for a walk and grabbing lunch with two friends. Then I went home and spent the evening with Farmer Ben. Win all around.
Friday-Circuit Workout: Fail. I barely made it to work on time and then I spent the rest of the day prepping for my book club meeting. After a hot toddy, I fell into bed.
Saturday-3 food groups per meal: Yes, I did this. My book club meal was (hand-grated!) mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta, veal chorizo, mushrooms, onions and red peppers, a big salad and roasted pumpkin with a maple chipotle & fig balsamic vinaigrette. This was on repeat for dinner.
Sunday-12/14-Clean Out Your Closet: As Farmer Ben and I only have one closet in our new place, this has already been done a few times over… I also did some frantic cleaning before my book club on Saturday.
As I mentioned above, running hasn’t happened much lately as I have been under the weather (and, okay, I admit, lazy). I’ve done some walking, which is something, but I know it’s NOT enough. This week is my week to get back on track…I’m finally starting to feel better and can almost breathe normally again.
However, I have hit my freggie (fruit and veggie) and water goals almost every day.
Let’s Chat: How’s your fitness/health this season? Doing any challenges?
Hope you’re having a great December! I wanted to stop in with some randomness today….
I have a lot of obsessions. Does that mean I have an addictive personality? Probably.
Here are some (mostly food related) things I’m too into right now.
1. Homemade Vanilla. I took a cue from Joy the Baker and starting making my own (the first batch was bourbon vanilla). A while back, we had picked up a bottle of fancy-schmancy bourbon vanilla at Homegoods or TJ Maxx…last night, I happened to glance at the price tag-$12 and the normal price was $17 for an 8 oz bottle! Gah! I just started a batch of Jameson Vanilla… the whole bottle of Jameson is somewhere around $25 and vanilla beans are around $1 a piece. Plus, if you get cute little bottles, these would make perfect presents for the foodie in your life (Note: there is a 6 week infusion period, so if you start a batch now, it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day!)
2. Maple Syrup. Yes, I live in Upstate NY, so I’ve always appreciated (real) maple syrup…but lately, I have really taken the plunge. I’ve been using it as a replacement for regular sugars in recipes (like these carrot muffins) and adding it in my coffee smoothies or hot tea.
3. Ninja Blender… Farmer Ben and I got a Ninja Blender as a Christmas/house-warming present (did I mention that we moved in November?) and I cannot tell you how much I love it. We’ve had it just over a week and I have used it almost every day. I’ve made two kinds of nut butter, pumpkin smoothies, carrot muffins… the possibilities are endless!
4. Healthy Skoop products. Remember when I did that review for their B-Strong protein powder? Well, I liked to so much that I decided to become a skoop retailer. Did you know that for every serving of Skoop sold, a serving of fruit and veggies is donated to a school lunch program? Pretty awesome, right? You can check out my shop here. AND, if you use the code cheers25 you can get 25% off your entire order from now until January 4.
5. Homemade deodorant…I sweat a lot… And a lot of natural deodorants don’t really work. But, I’m determined to find one that does. I used this recipe (is that the right word when applied to deodorant making?) I’ve only been using it for a couple of days, so I will keep you posted on the pit situation. To date, no crazy rashes or burning, and Farmer Ben doesn’t mind sitting next to me, so that’s a good sign!
Speaking of Farmer Ben, he turns 32 today! Happy birthday Darlin’, I love you!
Your turn: What are you obsessed with (eating) lately?!
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!
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!
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!
Happy Wednesday, friends!
Just popping in with a quick life update!
It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here and Farmer Ben and I were so thankful to both be off on Labor day! What is it about sleeping in that makes the world so much easier to take on???
Do you know what I mean???
Anyway… Here is a list of “currently…”
On the running front: After a lot of soul searching, I decided to drop down to the half for the Wineglass Marathon…. Training wasn’t going well and I was panicking about my long runs…I’d only gotten up to 14 miles and that was rough. In the end, I decided I would rather run the half for fun than try to run the full marathon hating my life and possibly injuring myself.
Because of this decision and a twist of fate, Farmer Ben and I are running the Adirondack Ragnar Relay this year! We can’t wait!
I have to say, it is a relief to just go out and run, rather than worry about hitting a certain distance. Last night, Farmer Ben and I ran a speedy 4.5 miles (that almost killed me) and it was so nice to not worry about going too fast or having to hit a certain distance.
Don’t get me wrong, I love distance running. I do… It’s just that right now, it isn’t working with everything else. And I have to accept that for the time being and do what is best for me.
On the migraine front: I haven’t talked about my migraines in a long time. Long story short, I tried cutting out a lot of different things (caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, etc) and nothing seemed to work. I finally decided to go off the pill as a last resort. It’s still a bit early to tell, but it seems to have helped. I haven’t had a migraine in two months!
On the food front: I’ve been eating in a hurry lately. As a result, I’ve been tired, sluggish and hungry…and my pants are a bit more snug than I’d prefer, but I’m not too stressed. It just means it is time to get back to meal prep and getting up early enough to make breakfast and lunch. I’m also back to logging on myfitnesspal for accountability (username nre820).
Something that seems to help is Skoop B-strong. I’ve been using it for the last few weeks and I LOVE it for a quick breakfast/snack. Not only does it keep me full, but it is also 100% organic and is SO GOOD for you! I’ll be doing a full review later this week.
On the book front: I finally read The Fault in Our Stars. Verdict: I loved it but I totally guessed how it would end… So sad. Now I have to watch the movie!
I also read Divergent (after seeing the movie). I really liked it… But did anyone else think that Four looked way older in the movie than he was described in the book? I was a little creeped out by this before I read the book.
Lastly, I started reading this a couple of weeks ago (before getting sucked into the other two books)!
I am picking it back up tonight. Thoughts so far: I’m geeking out over the scientific stuff but some of it feels too gimmicky, like they are trying too hard to sell it to the reader. I’ll keep you posted on my final thoughts.
Can I just say that I love the library???
In other news: Farmer Ben and I started our first batch of homemade vanilla extract. I cannot wait to try it! Six weeks feels like forever.
We’ve been obsessed with tintos (tinto de verano). So simple and so refreshing! Half red wine, half orange/lemon soda (I love the blood orange variety in the picture) over ice.
That’s all for today! Happy end of summer!
What have you been up to???
Hi Friends! Long time no see! Remember when I used to blog a few times a week? Sigh… soon, we will be back to that!
Farmer Ben and I have been crazy busy getting ready for the bistro opening…it’s crazy to think that in just two days (AH!) we will be open for business!
In other news, I was recently sent a sample of LYFT to try and review.
Not gonna lie, I typically don’t try stuff like this, but with all the late nights at the bistro, I thought it may be nice to try an alternative to my standard coffee with cream… thank you to LYFT for the sample!
Full Disclosure: I was provided LYFT in exchange for a review through Fit Approach. All opinions are my own.
So, what the heck is Pure LYFT?
From their website: “LYFT Energy Stir Sticks are an innovative “clean caffeine”™ energy product infused with all natural caffeine and vitamins that provide a sophisticated energy experience.”
They also boast “a clean taste,” compatible with many different drinks, the caffeine equivalent of a small coffee, zero calories and “no artificial sweeteners, flavors or preservatives.” The energy comes from green coffee bean extract and vitamins B & A.
So, I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
I was pretty impressed at how quickly my sample came…it was literally in my mail box two days later.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, I’ve read about green coffee bean extract but had never tried it.
So what did I think?
Well… the packaging was pretty neat.
And it is pretty self explanatory to use…
You peel off the label and stir the stick into your drink…. easy enough.
The taste was …detectable. It wasn’t super sweet, but I could still taste… something and that threw me off. I must admit, I only mixed with water, the average person probably wouldn’t have noticed it, especially if mixed with tea or juice.
I will also admit that I am kind of a weirdo with taste, sweet especially, and most people probably wouldn’t notice any taste.
Did I notice a boost in energy?
I used mine on particularly long days at work when I hit my 3 pm slump. Mid-afternoon has been especially rough as I have been up late most nights, so I’ve been hitting the coffee pretty hard. I tried the LYFT on days when I just wanted water.
I’d agree with the statement that it is similar to a cup of coffee.
Anything not to like?
Ugh. Maltodextrin. I do NOT like this ingredient. And I do NOT consider it clean.
I’ll let you do your own research but … it’s (usually) corn. Highly processed corn. There has got to a better way!
I’m also not a fan of “natural flavors,” I get the reasoning behind it but you don’t know what that means.
Would I buy this?
If it didn’t have maltodextrin… maybe. Again, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the ingredient list… if LYFT found a better alternative, I’d consider it… but I am pretty committed to coffee.
Happy Memorial Day, Friends!
Update: because I am late, I chose two winners! Inspired Spoons and Jennie J, you each are getting some siggi’s certificates! Email me at NoellesNotebook @gmail.com and let me know where to send!
You may or may not know this about me…but I am kind of a weirdo when it comes to yogurt. Plain yogurt is my jam.
I do NOT like flavored yogurt. I can eat plain with fruit mixed into it, but I can’t eat the fruit-flavored stuff. It doesn’t make any sense.
Flavored yogurt makes me gag.
My stomach just doesn’t do well with pre-flavored yogurt. For my taste, there is usually WAY too much sugar/sweetener in it and I usually end up with an upset stomach and a headache.
But one day, this changed for me…on a whim, I tried siggi’s vanilla skyr (Icelandic-style, strained yogurt) . And then siggi’s orange ginger…and it didn’t make me gag! I actually liked it…And the ingredients were REAL and all things I could pronounce/possibly have in my kitchen (like real vanilla bean!)!
To be honest, I didn’t really know how to react to this earth-shattering revelation. I had identified myself as a flavored-yogurt hater for so long, I was having a crisis of epic proportions! What was I supposed to do now?! What would Farmer Ben think?!
Obviously, after this yogurt turned my world upside down, I had to find out more about the company behind the goodness. And I was very pleased with what I found.
siggi’s is a truly great brand! Their motto is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.” If you check out the nutrition/ingredient label, you can see that they stick to this motto.
I also love that the company was started by one man in his own kitchen, and has expanded. Talk about motivation!
They are a NY company and use NY dairy. Their yogurt is made with dairy from cows that are grass-fed, and hormone-free and there are no artificial ingredients!
I realized that this was a company I could get behind. So I did what any former flavored-yogurt hater would do… I applied to be a part of their Culture Club! I did it on a whim and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d be accepted or not (I actually told them I wasn’t big on flavored yogurt… over share!)…but 4-5 weeks later I received a magical email.
I was in the club!
A couple weeks later I received my culture club welcome kit.
I’ve been using the bag every day.
As a long overdue way to celebrate my initiation into the culture club, I’m going to give away 5 coupons for free siggi’s yogurt to one lucky reader in the US!
The only requirement: leave a comment telling me what your favorite flavor of yogurt is.
I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 6.
Full disclaimer: As a siggi’s brand ambassador, I received coupons (and may get product on occasion) in exchange for spreading their message of “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” however all opinions are my own.
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.
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?
Last Saturday, I woke up early. This will shock you, but I really hate getting up early—especially on weekends. However, I will do it for a race (long runs are still debatable).
I had registered for the Run for Hope a few weeks earlier and had hoped to do the half marathon. Unfortunately (and in addition to my sporadic training) I slipped at job number 2 and managed to bang up my knee… which caused me to skip my last two long runs.
On Friday night, while having a fancy date night out with Farmer Ben, I was still debating which distance I was going to do.
My Thought Process:
“I know I CAN finish the half BUT it is a pretty challenging course (read: HILLS). So the big question is should I run the half and risk messing up my knee in doing so? Or play it safe and stick with the 5k? I’m not expecting a great time, regardless…but is it worth running it just to run it?!”
On Saturday morning, the 2 glasses of wine I had at dinner were not settling well and I was not looking forward to (another) cold and windy run. I took some ENERGYbits and drank a giant glass of water…then I stumbled around gathering everything I would need to race—including a change of (dry) clothes. I ended up leaving a few minutes later than I wanted to, but I wasn’t too worried as I knew that this was a relatively small race.
On my way out of town, I stopped and got iced coffee and a bagel for breakfast and jumped on the highway to make the 40 minute trip south to Elizabethtown.
As long of a drive as it is, it’s one of my favorites view-wise. I blasted the radio and tried to not drive off the road (driving conditions were horrible!). My stomach was flip-flopping as I drove and weather conditions were, for lack of a better word, crappy.
Once I pulled into the school parking lot, I had made my decision. I found the race director, introduced myself and asked if it would be possible to switch to the 5k. Of course this was not a problem…even if I wasn’t entirely happy with my choice.
After getting my registration/check-in straightened out, I wistfully watched the half-runners jump on the waiting school bus and drive away to their starting line…then I realized that I had about an hour and a half to kill before the 5k started. So, I got some water, found the bathroom, caught up on my tweets/Instagram/favorite blogs and finally went into the high school gym to ditch my hoodie and keep warm. I ended up running into someone I knew (her husband was doing the race) and chatted with her while I stretched.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how hi-tech this race was. We even had an ankle timing chip—my first time racing with this!
I also noticed this little gem in the swag bag (yup, no shame).
Anyway, we lined up in front of the school and waited for the race to start. It was a flurrying and windy. I had opted for a pair of tights, a long sleeve core layer, a t-shirt and my trusty blue hat.
The 5k was an out and back, complete with some little hills and an uphill finish. The wind was rough running out, there was one spot that I felt like I just wasn’t moving. Coming back was really nice because the wind was at our backs.
It started snowing even harder right after I finished. Not gonna lie, I was happy that I opted out of the half at this point.
After taking the obligatory post-race photo, I headed back into the gym to scope out the snacks. Locally made delicious looking bagels (I may have grabbed two of these to bring home with me), coffee, hot tea, a great looking salad and some homemade chili. I opted for the latter options.
I ended up hanging around to wait for my time and the awards ceremony and I’m so glad that I did!
My official time was 28:28 and I placed 2nd in my age group (16-29!)—24th overall—not gonna lie, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t really gone into this with a race mentality, so placing was an added bonus.
They butchered my name…but I’ve gotten used to this.
Overall, this was a great race; super chill, very well organized and a great group of people. I will definitely do this again (hopefully, running the half).
Let’s chat: Ever had to change your distance on race morning? Favorite post-race snackage? What are your plans this weekend?
Hope you all had a great weekend, I certainly did!
I snuck away to visit the family in Horseheads, NY and let me say, it was so fun (even though Farmer Ben was missing)!
Anyway, here is a brief peek inside my trip… I was a terrible blogger and didn’t take as many pictures as I should have.
I did manage to remember to take pictures at the Horseheads Brewing Co., great beers, great staff. If you are in the area, try the ” hot chocolate,” a mix of their jalapeño ale and chocolate porter!
That’s all for today! Enjoy!
Dinner and dessert, my brother-in-law’s latest craft-cigar box guitars!, Horseheads brewing company randoms and more eats.