Life Update?

You guys! Oh man, you guys! I have so many things to tell you.

First, my online class starts soon and I am beyond excited!

It’s March 21 and the ground is covered in snow. What is this crap? The joys of upstate NY living.

I have made a decision about the marathon.

I’m getting excited for racing this year.

Race planning has officially taken over my life. I admit it.

I am okay with that because I know it’s all for a great cause. And I know if James were here, he’d be so happy.

That being said… I’m still behind on blogging, so I decided to call in reinforcements. I’ve got some guest posters lined up that you are going to love. These people inspire me in so many ways and I cannot wait to introduce them to you!

My current food obsessions are as follows:

Mashed avocado with black pepper, parsley, scallions and lime juice

Popcorn (always)

Pickles (always)

Giant salads with sprouts and hard-boiled eggs

Thin mints

Bagels. Everything bagels.

While planning a race (I’m sorry… I can’t help it), I’m learning a lot about people:

They can be incredibly kind, helpful and giving. Some days I am just overwhelmed by all the help, donations and kind gestures the race committee has received.

I’ve also found that people can be very…funny. They can be conniving, evasive and sometimes, downright rude!

But for the most part, people are good. And our group has been very blessed.

Speaking of which, we’re going to have some amazing prizes for the race. I am so excited.

Also, I love Farmer Ben. He is pretty great.

In the last month, I have been to two baby showers. That is more baby showers than I’ve been to…. ever… maybe.

I also have a wedding this weekend (and a mini college reunion!).

And a bridal shower next weekend.

When did I get so old?! And furthermore, how is it that so many of my friends have children?! I mean… I know how…. but, aren’t I still 18 years old?

Food for thought from Noelle’s Notebook.

Word.

Happy weekend!


Notes to Self for Friday…

Happy Friday!

It’s going to be a busy weekend… Here is a look at what’s going on in my brain:

1. This is one of the most unproductive work weeks I’ve had in a long time…which doesn’t make sense because it’s also been one of the quietest.

2. My body is so confused from all of the crazy things I’ve eaten lately. Weird things are happening. Oy Vey!

3. There is so much snow!!! Finally…

4. The snow isn’t so bad, but all the wind is killing me!

5. I’m craving more of this granola. Quinoa…cocoa nibs.. pistachios. So good. Make it!

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6. In case you’re behind on the blog, here is what you’ve missed:

7. I’m still working on the last Daniel Fast post… it’s coming soon!

8. I also still owe you a post on the Food Experiments Championship and the rest of Farmer Ben’s birthday! Stay tuned.

9. I can’t believe 2012 is coming to an end. What a year.

10. I also can’t believe that Dick Clark won’t be around to ring in 2013. How sad.

11. I can’t participate in today’s #elf4health challenge because I don’t own a microwave. Bummer.

12. On second thought… I’m okay with that.

13. I have a really bad habit of putting my foot in my mouth. Not good.

14. I impulsively bought Taylor Swift’s Red cd at Starbucks yesterday. I’ve been jamming out in the car ever since. Latest guilty pleasure? Yes. Am I ashamed? Not at all.

14a. Where was this in 2009 when I so desperately needed it?!

15. One of my Christmas presents was a giant bag of pistachios. Probably my favorite gift. #nuts4nuts. See number 5… I hope you’re getting the point!

16. I know that I caved and joined Twitter (@noellesnotebook)…but I still don’t get the hashtag thing. How do I know if I’m doing it right?! This is the stuff that keeps me awake at night.

17. I have so much to do in the next few weeks. I can’t even deal.

18. I’ve been really bad about logging on myfitnesspal lately. I’d appreciate some help-add me! nre820

19. Looking outside is really discouraging the running part of my brain.

20. My body is really mad at me for being a bum about running lately. Vicious Cycle.

21. 1 Corinthians 13 has been all over my brain lately. There needs to be more love in this world. Seriously. I’ve been keeping these words close to my heart and whispering them to myself when things have been tough.

22. After spending a couple of days in Boston for Christmas, I’ve come to realize that my two teenage cousins are way cooler than me. 

23. They also make me feel old.

24. Farmer Ben and I had a wonderful heart to heart on Wednesday night. One of the many reasons why I love this man.

25. Shout out to my friend NM. Your email made me smile and I am so glad things are looking up. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. 2013 is going to be your year. Red lipstick and all.

Happy Weekend!


A Year Ago On This Day…

I was up until two in the morning frosting a cake, singing and laughing with some of my favorite people.

I woke up at the crack of dawn and had to transport said cake and decorating supplies to a winery.

There, I finished decorating my wedding cake. And then munched on fresh berries, mascarpone frosting and coffee.

I went to breakfast with my bestie. And tried to answer questions, messages and phone calls with a broken cell phone.

I got my hair styled and sucked down another coffee.

I ran through Price Chopper-with my amazing hairdo-carrying a case of PBR and a giant brick of cheddar cheese, pushing passers-by out of the way.

I sped up the northway back to the winery.

I put on my wedding dress.

I walked through rows of grapes and down an aisle full of friends and family.

I got to see Farmer Ben’s reaction. I’ll never forget it.

I stood in a gazebo with Farmer Ben and read my vows. Then the groom kissed me.

I celebrated.

I got to see and taste just how talented my husband is when I saw-and ate from- our amazing reception spread. Best food ever.

I had one glass of wine.

I couldn’t stop smiling.

I got to enter our little apartment with my husband and make it a home. For both of us.

I started my life with Farmer Ben.

I want to say that August 20, 2011 was the happiest day of my life, but the last year has held so much joy, I know that that isn’t true. The last year has been the best thus far. And I can’t wait to see what comes next.

The first of many “happiest days of my life.” (photo courtesy of Jona Favreau).

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Happy First Anniversary, Benjamin! I love you. Each and every day.

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Hooray!

Hi Friends!

I am about to burst with excitement! I am whisking my husband away for a romantic first anniversary getaway… he doesn’t know where we are going yet…No big deal.

Anyway, we’ll be out of town, but I wanted to leave you with a little something for the weekend.

This is one of my favorite books in the Bible. It’s also a really popular reading at weddings, and was one of our readings. It’s also a passage that I find incredibly motivating and always try to keep in mind when it comes to marriage and life in general.

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV):

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 

 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

And now for a corny wedding photo…because I can:

Photo courtesy of Jona Favreau.

Happy weekend and happy almost anniversary!


FB is Totally Boss.

Warning! This post is going to get a little sappy. And maybe a little obnoxious.

See, I was going to explain why I am having such a good day today…but then I realized that a big part of it was Farmer Ben. There were a few other things (like winning a call-in radio prize!) but the big parts of it are the manfriend. So, be warned.

Reasons Why Farmer Ben Rocks:

  • He makes me breakfast. If you’re new here, you probably haven’t figured out that I am absolutely terrible about getting up in the morning. Because of this, some breakfasts leave something to be desired. Yesterday, I had dry cereal and coffee. This morning, FB got up before me and made homemade hash (steak, potato and onion) topped with a fried egg. This is one of my absolute favorite meals in the world. I know, it’s nothing fancy, but it was delicious and he made it. Just because.
  • He takes care of things. I received a text this morning saying that my car (Zeke) had had an oil change, new wipers and a full tank of gas. No big deal. He also picks up after me, helps me find my keys and calls my phone when I’ve lost it and drives me to work.
  • He remembers things I don’t. Important things, like socks, my rings, sneakers and pens. And when I forgot them, he drops them off to me. No questions asked.
  • He let’s me take ridiculous pictures and post them on this blog I write. He also deals with me constantly photographing our dinner,even when he’s starving and just laughs at me.
  • He runs with me. And (mostly) enjoys it. This means so much to me.
  • He pushes me. To be a better person, to grow in my faith, to run faster, to put my clothes away and to chase my dreams.
  • He compliments me. Every day. Just because.
  • He’s hilarious. Farmer Ben is ridiculous. And he makes me laugh. Loudly and obnoxiously.
  • He holds my hand. Even if we are just driving in the car or standing in line at the farmers’ market, Ben will reach for my hand or put his arm around me… just to remind me that he’s there. And he’s with me. I love this.
  • He’s nice to look at. True story.
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I love this man.

 I was feeling pretty blessed today. God’s given me a pretty amazing hubby.

Thank you, Farmer Ben. I am so blessed to have you as my hubs.


Time Warp. Part 2.

When I last left you, I had just experienced the first openly awkward encounter with one of the family members.

It was in the previously mentioned sea of bubbles that I was blindsided. I was expecting things to be (the closest to)  normal with this person…but I was wrong. And it didn’t get better…we had another, and equally awkward, run-in at the reception.

At first I was a little miffed about the weirdness, but after some thought, I realized that it had to be equally as uncomfortable for this group to see me as it was for me to see them… I mean, I was supposed to be a part of the family and then I just… wasn’t…and even worse, I went off and married someone else! So… yeah, it was a weird situation.

Ben and I quickly moved on to a different part of the group and--after a flub-up on a relative’s name and a sideways glance after telling her that Ben was my husband– had a really nice chat with other people I knew. It was while standing in this group that I almost had a heart attack (numero uno).

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar face walking toward us.

“No. No. No. There is NO WAY that he’d come over here. NO WAY! Just… NO,” I thought.

But, he kept coming. Closer and closer.  Everything slowed down to the point that I was a living instant replay….

“Nooo-oooo-oooo Waaa-aaaaay,” I screamed inwardly!

And then, standing right in front of me was the ex.

If the ground could have opened up and swallowed me whole, I wouldn’t have minded. As it was, I am pretty sure that my face changed three different colors and my legs almost gave out.

This had to be a joke, or a mirage? Something.

And yet, there he was. Still standing there.

It was the first time that we had seen each other since the day I left Virginia, just over two years ago. Except, this time, I was looking at a stranger.

“Hi! How’s it going?!” He asked, as if we were best friends.

After a pause to collect my thoughts and concentrate on my face not turning purple, I replied, “I’m doing very well, how are you?”

Now, I said in my previous post that I was more worried about seeing the family of the ex than the ex, himself. As I mentioned, we aren’t on bad terms but we also are not friends. We just… aren’t on any terms. 

Needless to say,  I hadn’t planned on him coming up and acting buddy-buddy. I figured he would do what any reasonable adult would do; ignore my existence unless we ran into each other getting a drink and then politely nod, exchange the obligatory, “nice to see you,” then go back to ignoring me. That’s what a normal person would do. And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s what I had planned on doing.

I should have remembered that nothing I ever plan on actually happens… usually the exact opposite happens.

Instead of moving away from the group I was with, the ex continued to stand there and pry conversation out of me as I skillfully hid the fact that I was having a minor stroke. 

I can’t imagine what was going through Ben’s head as he watched his wife,  face changing colors, sweating and legs shaking, and her ex-fiance, standing there with a manic smile and equally red face, trying to make small talk. That Farmer Ben is a keeper. If he was nervous, he didn’t show it.

I eventually re-introduced the ex to Ben, proving that I am, in fact, the universal queen of all awkward situations on the planet. Let’s just say, it could have been a lot less weird, but I took care of it.

 About 15 seconds after this awful re-introduction I saw another familiar face striding toward me.

“JAY!” I screamed as I practically jumped into his arms. I had never been happier to see my old roommate than I was at that exact second.

After a few more painful minutes, Ben and I headed back toward my car and started driving toward the reception site.

We decided that we both needed a beer.

I had been told by the ex that the reception site-the eagle’s club- had a giant eagle statue in front of it. I realized this was true after I sped past it. Of course I had someone following me, so I was pretty embarrassed when I had to slam on my brakes and pull into the next driveway to turn around. Oops. My bad.

Jay and his girlfriend, Ben and myself and another couple found a table in the middle of the reception hall. This seemed to be the safest place…at least that is what I had planned on, anyway.

We sat and chatted for a few minutes and watched as the rest of the wedding crowd trickled into the room.

The family and wedding party started to find their way into the building.

My heart sank as I watched something happen and knew there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Cue slow motion.

“Nooooo…No….Nooooo… No-ooooo Waaa-aaaay,” my inner warped voice screamed.

It was happening again. As I watched in horror, the ex and his date entered, he made eye contact, glanced hurriedly around the room (or in my mind, slowly around the room) and then made a beeline for a table. But not just any table. The exact table that Ben and I were sitting at.

The two sat down and everyone else at the table collectively stopped talking, exchanged looks of horror and then stared down at their laps. No one knew what to do.

I am pretty sure my face went from its normal pinkish-pale to bright red to paper white and my stomach went from its usual place, down to my butt, up to my throat and back. Twice.

Ben, noting my face color, asked “Are you okay?”  

I heard the ex mutter to Jay, “I figured I would dispel some of the awkward-ness now. You know?”

I almost jumped on the table and yelled “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! How is this NOT AWKWARD?!” But I remembered that it wasn’t my day and that I was in a crowded room, so I didn’t. Instead I sat there, exchanged a dumbfounded look with a friend of mine and then got up to get a beer.

After that, the night was pretty calm. There were a few more awkward interactions and I somehow ended up having a really nice conversation with the ex’s date (she was a pretty cool lady, props! ).  Go figure.

Ben and I enjoyed a few dances together and Jay, our friend Danielle, and I reminisced about our time in DC. 

Everyone at the table enjoyed people watching and the awe that comes with being in such a rural town.  I really loved seeing Laura and Ted enjoy their first few hours of wedded bliss. So much happiness.

As much as I hate to say it, I give the ex props for being the bigger adult in this situation… not saying that I would have been rude to him, but I probably would have handled the situation a little differently if the roles were reversed.

In short, I got through the night. Ben got through the night. We did it together. I couldn’t have asked for a better date…or a better husband for that matter.

Upon leaving, I sighed with relief. I knew that I had survived the collision of my past and present. I smiled to myself as I realized once again that I am truly blessed. Every ridiculous crazy things has happened for a reason, even if I have no idea what it is at the time.

We got in the car and drove back toward my sister’s house. The night was over. And I was leaving with my person. Thank God.


Time Warp. Part 1.

A Note from Noelle: I’ve actually had this post written for a couple of weeks now but I’ve been stewing as to whether or not I should post it… In the spirit of being overly honest, here you are!

A few weekends ago my past and present collided. Literally.

As I drove down and across New York State , my hands shook, my hair stood on end and I was sweating. A lot. It was hot, cold and everything in between. I think I put on and took off my hoodie about 37 times during the five-hour trip.

The only thing that kept me driving down the highway at slightly over the speed limit was Ben, offering an affectionate squeeze of my hand or an encouraging smile every few exits.

When we got off  highway and made the turn toward my sister’s house, I knew there was no turning back… unless I suddenly came down with a nasty stomach bug… or my car broke down… or something, anything else.

As I tried on the first of the two dresses I brought, Ben smiled at me and my sister told me to wear it. I was fretting about wearing the right thing and not being too dressed up or down. My stomach was doing backflips and I was wondering if it would be too late to quietly back out.

Ben and I had a quick lunch together, consisting of a giant burger and french fries, then we rushed back to my sister’s house to get ready. Time was passing too quickly and before I knew it, I was hurrying Ben out the door and into the car.

I turned back on to the highway and headed west. As I drove, I wondered what I was thinking when I had RSVP’d yes.

It was a trip I’ve made several times but this time it was different. I was with my husband, who’d never traveled this road before and had no idea what to expect.

I was going to place I hadn’t expected to return to, and especially not under these circumstances. I was seeing people I’d never thought I’d see again… at least not on purpose.

We were quite literally traveling straight into my past life. The town where I grew up, with people I used to know, in a time where I didn’t even know who Ben was. As we got off the exit, we passed familiar fields and houses. I had forgotten how long it took to get into town and as we drove, Ben was surprised at how rural it was. The landscape had a few changes, but for the most part, all was the same.

We drove slowly down the street to the address mentioned on the invitation. Of course, I drove by it the first time. As we circled the block, we took in the sights of a small town that hadn’t changed in years.

I parked the car and realized that my hands were shaking, and I am pretty sure my legs were, too. As I opened the door, I felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff, knowing that I needed to jump off.

Again I wondered, “is it too late to just get back in the car and drive away?”

I looked over at Ben, who simply took my hand, and smiled as we walked toward the church. I’m still amazed about how cool and collected he was compared to me… if the roles were reversed, I wouldn’t have been able to speak, let alone keep encouraging him.

We climbed up the steps and hung a right into the sanctuary. My plan had been to sneak into the back of the church unnoticed, but I had forgotten where we were.  Needless to say, it was a small enough church that no one walked in undetected. As I chose a pew in the back, I looked up and saw my ex’s father standing in front of me. Along with an uncle, aunt and some cousins.

At this point, my legs were shaking so badly that I am not quite sure how I made it down the row and returned their “hello’s,” but somehow I did and I introduced them to Ben. My husband. I felt like my stomach was going to leap out of my throat and my hands continued to shake as we finally sat down.

Another Aunt sat down behind us and, realizing it was me, continued to make small talk for the next few minutes. I was cursing my need to arrive at big social events early.

Luckily, another familiar face sat down behind us and I was able to switch conversations. An uncle smiled at me from across the room and mouthed a “nice to see you.”

Perhaps I should explain myself, before you think I’ve completely lost my mind.

My ex’s sister and I are still close. She even attended our wedding.  And to be perfectly frank, I was fine with seeing the ex. We aren’t on “good” terms per say but we aren’t on bad terms either…we just…aren’t on any sort of terms. So I knew that we wouldn’t be having any in-depth conversations. I doubted that we would even speak.

I was, however, absolutely positively terrified of seeing the family.

I was not in a good place three years ago when we broke up. I was extremely scared and insecure. Completely uncomfortable in my own skin. I haven’t seen the family since the day the ex and I parted ways and I was unsure what to expect this time. Especially because I would be bringing a date (my husband-who isn’t their son/nephew/cousin) with me.

I’m a very different person than I was back then and my life has changed in so many ways, it’s difficult for me to connect to my old self and seeing this family was going to force me to do so.

They are wonderful people, but I am sure they thought it was a little odd that I was going to the wedding. Most people would have just sent a nice gift.  If they did think it was odd, they didn’t let on. All of them were wonderful, and-with the exception of a few sideways glances-everyone exchanged pleasantries and small talk.

I have to admit, I definitely made this a bigger deal than it actually was, but when you go from having  people very much a part of your life to… not a part of your life, what can you expect? I had no idea. Neither did Ben.

The ceremony was short and sweet and I have never seen Laura look more beautiful than she did in those moments.

After the ceremony ended, the crowd made their way outside to enclose the bride and groom in a sea of bubbles.

 It was in this mass exit that I had the first-and most unexpected-awkward exchange of the evening. I’m going to chalk it up to having too much going on and not being sure how to react in the bubbles, the people and the activity. There was one more sideways glance, but again, it was done with grace and barely detected.

And now…for a short break. Click here for Part Two.


Let’s Be Honest…

Real Talk:

I got a ticket on Tuesday. For talking on my cell phone while driving. Except, I wasn’t on the phone. I will be fighting this.

My whole body hurts. And I’m tired. But I am getting faster and stronger with every run…and less and less sleep since the restaurant opened.  

I’m still trying to balance this whole sleep/work/workout thing. This morning the snooze button won out over the 5:30 run.

My hubs was upset with me yesterday morning. Apparently, I interrupted a pretty fantastic dream about mushrooms. Oh the joys of being married to a chef/farmer…

I ate a giant cheeseburger for lunch yesterday…with bacon, barbecue sauce, fried onions and cheddar cheese. It was delicious.

I skipped the french fries… but stole a few from my hubbie’s plate.

My hubs also forgave me for interrupting his dream.

Foodie Penpal reveal day is coming up. I can’t wait to show you what came in my package!

This week has been so crazy that I didn’t even know what day it was until about 7:30 last night…. on another note, Happy 25th Birthday to Daniela and Liz! Love you both!

I randomly discovered this yesterday and found it mildly entertaining. You’re welcome.

I’m so looking forward to a three-day weekend… and extra time with the hubs.

I’m finding that the older I get, the more awkward I am…but I’ve gotten a little better at covering it up.

Good luck to my friends, Kristy and Jona, running the Vermont City Marathon this weekend! I’m so excited for you!

I see some baking in my future.

I see two giveaways in your future. And some overdue blog posts. Stay tuned

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day!


That Is Not What I Meant to Say…

Okay…I need to clear something up. Apparently one of my posts from last week caused quite a stir (as evidenced by my phone blowing up with texts and Facebook messages), so I have some explaining to do. I’m sorry I didn’t elaborate sooner, it just wasn’t the right time to do so yet.

Ben and I are having a baby.  No. Totally kidding. We are, however, embarking on a new adventure.

Ben is starting as head chef at a new restaurant…it’s such a great opportunity for him and I am so excited and proud of him! Again, it wasn’t exactly expected, everything just sort of fell into place.  

We’re also making plans for the next step/adventure. Those details are still a little foggy.

Now that that is cleared up (phew!), there are a few other things I am super excited and/or happy about.

  • The restaurant I work at in the summer is finally open! It’s gotten a much-needed facelift, an updated menu and a super talented chef (see above). I am really excited to be working there again and seeing all of my regulars. It’s going to be a great summer!
  • I sent out my foodie pen pal package! I can’t wait for Lauri in Texas to get her box full of Upstate NY/VT goodies!
  • I should be getting my foodie package soon! I looooooooove mail!
  • The Farmers’ Market is finally opening for the season!
  • We have corn coming up in our garden. And beans. And lettuce!
  • My friend Angela just moved to the area! We had dinner on Monday…I am so excited to hang out with her more.
  • I had a great conversation with my friend Christina on Tuesday. I love knowing that my friends are doing well!
  • I had a run/dinner/girls’ night with my friends Nessa and Tina. I am so social lately!
  • It’s finally starting to feel like spring!
  • I just noticed that I have used an exclamation point in every single bullet!   !!!
  • I got in a great walk at lunch today and am just itching to get out and run!

One last thing.

Happy belated birthday (it was yesterday…oops.) to my amazing Aunt Rayna! You are such a wonderful lady and an inspiration! Here’s to many more!

Over and out.


Better Late than Never…

So, to continue on my game of catching up…

This weekend was, in a word, phenomenal! For real. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time.

Ben and I ran the Chief Run 5k, benefitting the Wounded Warrior Foundation, with some friends on Saturday morning. It was chilly, but the sun was shining. I was nervous but the elation that came from having Ben do a race with me overshadowed anything else.

Once I got in the zone, I just kept plugging away and felt so in tune with the environment. Our times were …not great, but we ran the whole thing and we finished.

I’ve even talked Ben into doing another race this weekend!

Post Race: “Gross But Necessary” (shoutout to Pato!)

One thing I did learn? I have a lot of hill work to do. Seriously. My hips were screaming the next day, but it was worth it. It’s also time to add in some speed workouts!

After the race, we continued our weekend of fun with Cinco de Mayo celebrations, The Avengers, nachos, brisket smoking and a nice long walk. All in all it was a high-quality couple of days. We also got some good news and soaked up some Vitamin D. Win!

More catching up to come…stay tuned!