Happy Things

I’m in an incredibly good mood today. Why?

The sun is shining.

It’s turning out to be a pretty nice day.

Coffee.

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In my ceramic travel mug. Love.

I finished last night’s run before it was completely dark out. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Spring is coming!

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Okay… it looks pitch black here, but it really wasn’t!

Spinach Soup for lunch. This stuff is so good and so good for you! I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks (white potatoes, veggie stock and chili powder to start).

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Green Monster soup.

The hubby is at home,  on his day off, cooking and baking bread. I cannot wait to go home and try everything!

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Basil Bread (L) and Whole Wheat Mini Boules with Brown Butter, Sage and Flax… all in a day’s work. I know…I’m spoiled!

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Meyer Lemon Chicken Stock

Rutabaga Fries

Rutabaga Fries

We’ve decided to do a dairy CSA Share. Hello fresh milk in glass bottles! Homemade butter and cheese are going to happen!!! I’m super excited. I’ll give you details in a separate post.

I signed up for a couple more (free!) online classes, it’s definitely going to be year of learning! If you haven’t checked Coursera out, do it now!

I got an awesome pair of compression socks (the kind that go up to your knees!) as a gift last night…. perfect timing. I was pumped.

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Compression socks are sexy.

I also got these beauties.

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Love the color!

Both are made in the USA and made with sustainable products. Love this. Here is the website for more info.

I also got an awesome print of a photograph taken by my super talented aunt…which I didn’t take a picture of. Can’t wait to hang it up!

Anyway, like I said. I’m feeling pretty blessed today. Life is good and I am happy for so many reasons.

What brings a smile to your face? Tell me about it! 


A Quarter Century??? Almost.

That sounds so…. official.

Today is my last day as a 24-year-old.

Tomorrow I turn a quarter century old.

Can you say “major freak-out?”

I know that age is just a number, but I have this vision in my head of what 25 is supposed to look like… and it’s a lot more put together than my 24 and 364 days old self.

I feel like I am supposed to know what I want to be when I grow up…and should be doing that already! I also feel that I should know how to tame my cowlick, not spill things all over myself and know exactly what direction my life is heading in. But I don’t.  And frankly, all of those things freak me out, just a little. Okay, maybe a lot, depending on the day.

Everything happens for a reason…I know that. If I had followed a strict plan, I certainly would not be anywhere close to where I am today. I may be making more money, or living in a city somewhere, I may have a more expensive wardrobe to spill things all over…but I’d be miserable.  And stressed out. And did I mention miserable?

I have to admit, that although I’m uncertain where I’m headed at this point in time, I am ridiculously happy. I have a wonderful husband and great family and friends. I laugh every day and I’m healthy.

So, today I am going to take a deep (calming) breath and just relish the unknown. I’ll take comfort in the fact that, although I won’t ever be that well-put-together-25-year-old-who-knows-exactly-what’s-going-on-and-where-things-are-headed, that I’m still pretty okay. I’m a lot more interesting than that perfectly put together image. And the last (almost) 25 years have been very good to me. I’ll continue to count my blessings.

Here’s to 24 and 364 days old. And cowlicks.

Do you have a big birthday coming up? Do certain years freak you out more than others?


Happy Hundredth!

This is a special post. Number 100 to be exact.

It feels like just yesterday that I started this crazy blog and I hope to continue the tradition of weird over-shares, general mishaps and fun.

I’ve been trying to come up with some crazy and over the top for my hundredth post… but frankly, I’ve been busy…and tired. …and I’m really good at making excuses…

Anyway, instead of something crazy and over the top, here are some photos of my life lately… I love it.

Enjoy!

Summer sunsets-I took this yesterday during my cool down. I love the view on my road. Beautiful.

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Coming home after a run…

Ben and I went to a friend’s house last weekend to help him do something with his abundance of Roma tomatoes-as you can see, we filled an 18 gallon tub and found the biggest beat I’ve ever seen….needless to say, he’ll have enough marinara and barbecue sauce for a looooooooong time!

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So much sauce!

Farmer Ben and I also did some shopping this weekend. I finally broke down and bought a new pair of sneakers. So far I am loving them, but I am still getting used to the color.

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New Kicks!

Our anniversary was ten days ago. I suprised Ben and we took a trip to the Finger Lakes… here are some photos from our mini-roadtrip…

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The view from Two Goats Brewery on Seneca Lake

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I think he makes these faces on purpose.

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Apparently I make weird faces, too.

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The King Suite, champagne, spicy mustard and local meats. Nothing better!

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Can you feel the love?

I love you all, too. Thanks for reading and sticking around!

Stay tuned for my weekly GBN post!!!


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.


Something to Smile About…

Last week was rough. There’s really no other way to describe it. 

Without getting into too much detail, I had way too many things going on…and I missed an important appointment because I didn’t double-check my dates (BUT, I was able to reschedule!).

Luckily, I have a wonderful husband who helps me out in any way he can. Last week it was doing laundry, getting up with me at 5:30 in the morning and driving 40 minutes–each way– to pick someone up before I went to work, making  breakfast and lunch, and listening to me have a mini-meltdown midweek. No big deal.

Somehow, we made it through the week and Saturday morning, we were out of bed bright and early to drive down to the social event I’ve been mentioning for the last month or so.

This weekend, Ben and I attended a wedding. The wedding of my friend Laura… or my ex would-have-been-sister-in-law. She’s a pretty amazing lady and we are still close. Driving down Saturday morning my feelings were swinging between “This is going to be totally fine. It’s not a big deal.” and “What the heck was I thinking?! I am so nervous that I am going to drive off the road!”

The reality of the event was somewhere in between. I’ll share more in my next post…but for now, I need to share some positivity!

So, here is a short list of things that made my weekend (and life in general) pretty amazing:

1. My hubs. This man makes my life a lot more interesting. Each and every day. Not to mention,  he’s pretty handsome.

2. Wearing a dress that I haven’t worn in a long time and finding out that it still looks pretty good. It’s an awesome feeling, and nice to know that hard work does pay off.  

We clean up pretty well, don’t we?

3. Local Produce. I love going to farm stands, co-ops and farmers’ markets and knowing that I am supporting my local economy… not to mention, it just tastes better. This weekend, my sister, Ben and I visited Turks, a small farm and flower market in Horseheads, NY.

Shades of Summer…

I love summer veggies!

4. My amazing family. And our abillity to make stupid faces. Meghan is going to kill me.

5. Fresh Ingredients. Simple Food. Delicious-ness. Here are some shots of our Sunday lunch. Thrown together in about thirty minutes after a quick trip to Turks and Wegmans for supplies.

Brie and Baguette are a must-have!

A closer look… Quick Pickles, Caprese Salad and A Veggie Plate

6. Potato Salad. Especially when it’s not drenched in Mayo…Recipe for this particular salad is coming soon!

I love all the color in this bowl!

   7. Late summer nights. Particularly when paired with a glass of wine in hand, hummus at my fingertips and ridiculous conversation. Bonus points for a bonfire.

What are some things that make you ridiculously happy? 

As I said, stay tuned. More to come!


Freaky Week…I mean, Friday.

First things first, Congrats to Liz on winning the Cheechako gift card–I’ll be mailing it your way! Prepare for delicious tacos!

Now, for Friday’s Realizations and Confessions.

This week completely kicked my butt.

I’ve said this before. I am incredibly awkward.  I have a habit of doing and saying things at completely inappropriate times.

I stuck my foot in my mouth yesterday. I’ll spare the juicy details but it was one of those moments when you wish life had a rewind button. At the time I didn’t know I stuck my foot in my mouth, but it became extremely obvious about 30 seconds later.

On a completely unrelated note, when working at the restaurant, I always get the couple who fights. Without fail. The same couple. Do you have any idea how hard it is to bring out a salad when someone is crying into their wine? And then a dinner?! If you are that unhappy, I would seriously reconsider your relationship.

My husband is the cat’s pajamas. Yesterday, he made apricot scallion couscous and cod Provencal for lunch. Not only tasty but seriously good for you!  He also made iced coffee…AND I came home to homemade (and organic!) sangria.

I am not a morning person. I can fake it all I want, but when it comes down to it, I’ll take staying up late for getting up early any day. No contest.

I work with some pretty great people at both of my jobs. For this, I’m blessed.

I wore a really cute dress today because I desperately need to do laundry…I also rolled out of bed after a failed attempt at a morning run. I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my outfit.

I have a social event coming up that I am freaking out about. Thankfully, Farmer Ben will be by my side.

Blueberry yogurt is NOT the same as plain yogurt with blueberries in it. Blueberry Flavored yogurt is gross. Plain yogurt. That’s what’s up.

And now, I will leave you with a picture of yesterday’s lunch. You’re welcome. Happy weekend!

Lunchtime at the E. Residence.


Ripples

It’s Monday.

I woke up this morning after what seemed like a moment of sleep and was dizzy from all that transpired this weekend. I hit the snooze button, but was still tired the next time around. Yet, here I am. Another Monday at work has ended and the day has escaped a little too quickly for my liking.

Sunday was a very weird day for me. I got a bit emotional and felt the need to do some serious self-reflection.

 It started yesterday morning at church. The sermon was on motherhood, but it also discussed how anyone can be a better example, a light in the dark, if you will. It was titled, “Leaving a Legacy.”

My pastors talked about examples from their own lives and discussed words that came to mind when someone thought of their mother, but one phrase really struck a chord with me.

“A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.”

Regardless of your religion, or lack thereof, this is heavy. Everything you do has an effect on someone, even if you don’t realize it.

This got me thinking. What kind of impact am I making? What kind of people do I affect on a daily basis without even realizing it? What sort of ripples am I sending?

I know that I cannot personally change the world. But I can work hard every day to be a better person. And to help people, whether it be a smile to a stranger, a word of encouragement or helping someone with a project…the possibilities are endless.  And if I’m not the only one doing this?

Imagine the impact.

I just… I want to show people that there is still good in the world. Even if I don’t realize it at the time.

So…I’ll write it one more time. As a reminder.

A sincere faith causes a ripple effect.


As If I Needed Another Reason…

In case you were as blissfully unaware as I, yesterday was Eggs Benedict Day. How could I have missed this?! Not gonna lie, I am a little upset that I did not partake in the holiday… but I suppose it’s okay to celebrate any time.

And thanks to The Pioneer Woman, it doesn’t seem that difficult to do. Check out her post on the Happiest of Hollandays (get it?).

And if you want to get even more fancy with your breakfast (or …non-breakfast?) options, check out Joy the Baker’s (gluten-free!) Lunch Waffles. Wowowow.

Or Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Cake Pancakes for those missing some sweet in their life.

…Or, if you’re an egg lover looking for a little change, try this Skinny Omelette Recipe from 101 Cookbooks.

If you can’t tell, I am REALLY feeling breakfast today… if it involves an egg…0r 75, it’s a winner in my book.

…I’m also super excited because my Canvas on Demand canvas came in!!! AH! Great stuff people!

Do you have a favorite breakfast? Or weird breakfast (like green smoothies)?

Lots of Love. Have a great day!