Oh Hey, It’s 2013-Or “A List for the New Year”

A new year… A clean slate, if you will.

In the spirit of starting anew, I figured it was time to come up with a few things to do for 2013.

I don’t necessarily like the term “New Year’s Resolutions,” so I’m calling it “Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013.”  That has a much better ring to it… yeah.

Anyway, this is the first moment I’ve really had to sit and think, as my NYE was spent working 18 hours and helping others have a good time.

I could have done it yesterday, but let’s be real. After getting home just before 3 am and being busy all day, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out in my giant sweats and be a bum….and I did just that.

Some of the things on this list are not very impressive…but others are kind of a big deal…at least for me. They are in no particular order…some are meant to be repeated and others are one-time items.

So, it’s the second of January. Better late than never!

Noelle’s List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

As I’ve gotten more passionate about blogging, I’ve decided that I want this to go somewhere. Maybe not as a full-time thing, but as a creative outlet and something more.  

It’s so touching to hear/see people tell me that this blog is helping them and inspiring them to do more and it just makes me want to make it better. Period.

That means it’s time to get serious. I’ll probably be asking some of you wonderful people for feedback and maybe even some design ideas! I’ve got a lot to learn!

2. Excel in my new position.

I’ve been holding out on you, mostly because I wanted to wait until it was official… but I’m getting a promotion. I officially start next week and I know it sounds corny, but I want to do the best job possible. I’m super excited and a little nervous to start a new chapter and to learn a ton of new information and skills. But I’m all over it.

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year.

I always lament that I don’t make enough time to do more fun things. Not this year. I’m going to say “yes” and make time for new adventures. Whether it be taking a vacation, doing something silly or learning a new skill/hobby, count me in.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

Just hanging out with Larry, Curly and Moe. No big deal.

4. Run a half marathon.

No big deal. If I can do 10 miles, I can do 13.1 miles.

5. Take more time to read.

I haven’t been reading as much as I used to and I miss it.

6. Run 26.2 miles.

Maybe a big deal… but I’m turning 26 this year, and what better way to celebrate than running a marathon before it happens?!

I figure that if I put all of these fitness goals into writing, I’ll be more likely to succeed.  This means that the GBN posts will be making a comeback. I’m sorry and you’re welcome.

Also, the half marathon fits into the marathon training schedule… coincidence? I think not.

7. Be more present.

This kind of goes along with the third item on the list. I want to be around and available to my loved ones. I want to share in the joy, love and wonder of every day. I don’t want to work my life away. I want to live it!

I’ve realized in the last 24 hours while my phone has been completely dead–and I still totally enjoyed myself… I spend far too much time online or messing with my phone,  instead of in the real world. I’m going to work on that.

Love spending time with FB!

Love spending time with FB!

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

I have student loans, a car payment, a credit card payment and the regular monthly bills… I’m not terrible with money but I never seem to be able to save it–at least not for very long. While I have enough to cover my expenses (most of the time), I don’t usually have (much) extra. I want to change that this year.

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

I think that would be bad-ass. Right now I can do about 20-25 on a good day.

10. Do more food-ing.

Whether it be researching, growing, baking, cooking or enjoying. I want to know more about my food.

 Let’s do this.

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Here’s to a new start!

I’m sure this list will grow and change as the year grows on so I’ll be creating a separate tab to keep track. And so you can hold me accountable!

Now it’s your turn! Do you have any goals or items to check off your list this year? Tell me about them! Any advice for me? I want to hear from you!


Twelve-Twelve-Twelve!

Happy Triple 12 day!

How cool is that? Pretty stinkin’ cool, in my opinion.

It’s also a very special lady’s birthday today. Her name is Vera.

Happy birthday, Mom! I won’t tell the whole world how old you are… because I’m a lady. And so are you. I will say that you look pretty darn good for your age!

Enjoy your day and here’s to the best year yet!

Love you!

In other news:

Happy belated birthday to my dear friend Melissa-and another huge congratulations to you and Jeff on your engagement. I am so excited and happy for you both!

Happy early birthday to my awesome brother-in-law, Elliot! Your card is going to be late. And so will your present.

Hubby is hitting a milestone on Monday. We’ll be celebrating his day in NYC for some foodie and beer awesomeness. We cannot wait. I’ll be taking lots of pictures…as long as my phone doesn’t decide to stop working like it has been.

More news:

I apologize for the brief interruption of your regularly scheduled blog posts… I’ve been really busy at work, gotten a horrible cold, caught a really bad stomach bug and had some technology issues (see above note about my phone). But I am working on some really good stuff and I have so much to fill you in on-more challenges, #elf4health, goals for next year, Christmas, food goodness, Farmer Ben’s birthday extravaganza and more!

Happy Hump Day!

 

 


A Year? Really?

WordPress just informed me that I have been blogging for a year… And to be honest, I can’t believe it!

Has it really been a year since I told you about my crazy wedding photo journey?

This got me thinking… what’s changed in the last year?

I’ve made peace with turning 25. Sort of.

I’ve learned a lot of new things. And discovered a lot about myself and those around me.

I’ve lost 28 lbs.  After getting married, I gained some weight. A lot more weight than I wanted to. I started and stopped trying to lose weight a few times, and then…about 6 months ago, something clicked.  I still have a few more pounds to lose, but I am feeling pretty darn good lately. I’m also in a size I haven’t worn since high school…and I am okay with that.

I am back to running. Last year, I did some running…on occassion. But this year, I am a runner.… I’m doing crazy overnight races… and huge races in other states… and now I am planning more races. Some say I’ve lost my mind, but I think I am just finding it.

I also joined in on some online fun. I never would have done this a year ago because I considered myself a rebel… And I still am of sorts… but now I am embracing this whole internet community thing. I dig it. I love hearing from new people and learning about them.

People I love have passed… but I’m keeping their memory alive and working to do great things in their honor.

Things that still haven’t changed?

I still love pickles.

I still don’t like flavored yogurt.

I hate styrofoam.

I still cook/bake with booze.

I still heart my hubby.

I heart local food. Obvoduh.

And I am still super excited, blessed and thrilled that you’re reading…especially those of you who have been there since the beginning. Thank you for taking the time to read, comment and support me.

Thank you!

Anyway, it’s been a pretty great year in the world of Noelle’s Notebook….and I hope for many more!

Much Love. Happy Almost Turkey Day.


Today’s Notes to Self…

1. I really want T. Swift’s new album. Lyrical Genius. Should I be embarrassed by this?

2. Where was this album in 2009 when I really needed it?!

3. I love apples. And apple cider donuts. And apple cake. And pie … and… apples.

4. I had forgotten how much I enjoy eating toast with cream cheese and strawberry jam. Yum!

5. Does it make me a bad person if I change the radio station every time a song that features a gospel choir or kids singing comes on? It’s one thing if it’s, you know, a gospel concert or a kids’ chorus… but otherwise… such a gimmick! Come up with better material!

6. This happened on my way to work this morning…sigh.

7. Dear Old Navy, why is it that I’m down three sizes in every other brand of pants I try on, but I am only down one/still the same size in your pants? How does this make sense?!

8. Dear Size 8 (Except at Old Navy), it’s been a long time. I think we’ll stay friends for a while.

9. I need to make these soon.

10. Our fridge/freezer are currently stocked with butter and cream cheese. Life is as it should be and it’s time to do some baking. (Hello Pies!)

11. Speaking of pie, it’s time to make some of these little beauties.

12. Farmer Ben, I love that we’ve been getting in some runs together. You don’t know how happy this makes me…even if I did almost fall on my face last night.

14. I had forgotten how much I enjoy Sam’s Cherry Wheat. Phew!

15. Judging by most of these notes, it’s a good thing that I’ve been running lately!

16. How is Thanksgiving only a week and two days away?!

17. I cannot wait to try a spin class this week.

18. Habanero Hot Sauce made by Farmer Ben makes me happy…but it also makes my lips burn and my brow sweat. I guess it’s true that love hurts.

19. Cottage Cheese + Habanero Hot Sauce=True Love Forever.

20. I clearly haven’t had enough coffee today.

21. I can’t wait to run tonight. It’s going to be a late one, but worth it.

22. Anyone have any challenges/new adventures for me? See this post for more info.

23. Happy Tuesday!

13. Did anyone else notice that I skipped number 13? Oops!


If You’re Anything Like Me…

You probably wait until the last minute (or a week after) to buy your loved ones a birthday card.

You probably look at the calendar and say “Oh crap! Mothers’ Day is THIS Sunday?!”

But I didn’t do that this year. Ben and I were all over Mother’s Day…part of her gift anyway.

Anyway, here are some suggestions, if you ARE anything like me.

One of my favorite things to do with my mother is to sit down and have a meal with her, even if it’s something simple, like this pasta dish. That quality time is a gift in and of itself and I do the dishes!

I also love bringing her baked goods, like these whiskey cookies

This year, because Ben and I are both working on Mothers’ Day, we got her some amazing Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar from The Saratoga Olive Oil Company…to start.

Out of Saratoga, NY, they just opened up a shop on Church Street in Burlington, VT. This place is amazing. When you open the door, you enter a tasting room; silver vats of olive oils and vinegars line the room and little tasting cups and bowls of bread line the tables. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. You’ll try things like Blood Orange Olive Oil, Jalapeno White Vinegar, and Roasted French Walnut Oil. Like I said, amazing. You can also order online.

Ben and I picked up this sweet little variety pack.

Another awesome foodie item? Fat Toad Farm Goat Milk Caramel. My favorite variety is the Coffee Bean Caramel. It’s perfect to stir into your morning coffee, drizzle over ice cream or dip with fruit. If you have a caramel lover in your life, check this stuff out! Their website lists locations where the products are available, or you can order online!

Perfect Morning Pick-Me-Up!

If you’re not a foodie, handmade jewelry is another winner, at least in my mother’s book. Check out my previous post, Bling-Blingin’, to see some of my friend Kate’s work. She’s got a great eye and makes some pretty awesome jewelry. Do you have any go-to gift ideas? Or something completely different? How do you celebrate your mother? 

Anyway, I hope you have found or will find the perfect gift to thank your mother. Good luck, and happy Mothers’ Day to all the Moms out there…a few days early!


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!


R & R…or Something Like It.

Wow, it’s hard to believe that our mini-getaway was almost three weeks ago! I guess time flies when you’re crazy busy!

So, what have I been up these last few weeks?

We successfully took our road trip to visit the fam. Ben finally met my oldest sister, which made me super happy! We also indulged in Wegmans, family time, coffee, tons of delicious food, grilling, 80 degree weather, Wegmans and more Wegmans.

Then we came back to reality. And went back to work. Le sigh.

I made these amazing cupcakes. One of Ben’s co-workers liked them so much that he hugged me. Twice.

I also made this ridiculously easy-and crazy good dip.

And then I made some more tortillas, some tasty pasta and yummy egg salad (sunflower seeds are an excellent addition. Who knew?)

Oh! I also went to a pretty awesome benefit for a friend (Hi Brenda!). It was so nice to see people come together for an outstanding cause…I even took home a fantastic (giant!) drying rack for laundry…it may take up half of my living room when it’s unfolded. And… I may have gotten third place in the karaoke contest, not too shabby!

In our down time, Ben and I have been making random trips to the co-op and grocery store,  and ordering giant crocks and sauerkraut stompers from Lehmans. No big deal.

I’ve also stumbled on a new food obsession. Spinach Smoothies. Don’t hate.

I like to mix it up, but my typical creation is this; you take a cup of milk (I’ve been experimenting with my milks, I’m currently on almond milk), a spoonful of peanut butter, half a banana (frozen works best), a couple spoonfuls of flax seed meal and a bunch of spinach, throw it all in the blender and blend til combined. Enjoy! I have also been known to use nutella instead of peanut butter or add in some kale/berries…I love it because it takes little effort to make and helps me get a nice kick of fruits/veggies in the morning.  I also LOVE the bright green color. Anyway, try it. Mix it up. It’s worth it.

Speaking of blended veggies, I  tried a few of Zee Lemon’s juice concoctions over the last week. I have to say, I was a huge fan. Head on over to her blog and check out her “take-over” posts. Pretty interesting stuff. And some great ideas.

Another concoction I came up with?

An apple-peeled, a kiwi-peeled, about a cup of broccoli, about a cup of berries and as much spinach as you can fit in the blender. Surprisingly, very good. It also has a gorgeous color. I had this for breakfast on Friday and it was one of the only times that I wasn’t starving a few hours later.

Let’s see…what else have I been up to? We spent yesterday with Ben’s best friend’s family and had a great time. Good food, great conversation and lots of relaxation. I’d say it was a win. Ben even got Preston to eat his veggies. No small feat.

I’ve also been running and going for walks. And not drinking a lot of coffee. I don’t know how I stay awake. I picked up a sweet pair of kicks and have a date with two good friends from good ol’ RSC tomorrow. Super excited!

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Are you going through any weird food phases?  Share them below!


Just in Case.

It’s going to be a short one, but I want to start out by saying that I have so much to tell you! December has been a busy month. Unfortunately, it’s been so busy that I haven’t had much time to sit down and actually talk about it. Forgive me. I will catch you up on the happenings in my life soon… Unfortunately, today is not the day.

Because I have to work today and tonight, continue baking, shop and sing tomorrow and have family things to do the rest of the weekend, I am taking this spare moment for you. The holidays are about spending time with friends, so here we are.

I can tell you that I am very thankful for a good job and great co-workers, Christmas food/baked goods, time off from work, new tires-finally, a wonderful family and my new husband. The last year has been crazy, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

It’ll be my first Christmas as a Mrs., so I am wondering what sort of traditions we will start…so far, we have waiting til the last minute to do…everything! What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions? Or favorite memories?

Some of mine are having dinner at my grandmother’s house with all of the family, or going to Boston and having the Christmas Eve party at my Uncle Paul’s house-complete with Chinese food. There was also the time spent watching Christmas movies with my siblings. I also fondly remember singing in Christmas programs at my church, including one special Christmas where I threw up in the middle of singing “Oh Holy Night” with my sister.

I want to take this time to say “Merry Christmas,” in case I don’t have another moment. I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday, full of baked goods, wine and time spent with loved ones. God Bless.


Thanksgiving Bites!

After kind of a rough day at work, I decided I should do a post about my second great love; food!!!

I absolutely adore food. I’d rather go grocery shopping than clothes shopping. I’d rather stay in baking than hitting the town with my ladies. I’d rather stay in cooking with my husband while listening to Flamenco music than go to the movies. I’d rather peruse food blogs than shop online. I’d rather go out and try a new restaurant than go out for drinks.

It’s bad. My husband’s a chef. I can’t think of a time that I find him sexier than when he is in the kitchen. Thankfully, I also love running…otherwise I think we’d have a real problem!

I also love Thanksgiving. I have such fond memories of the family dinners of yesteryear…including Aunt Rayna’s Chocolate Kahlua Cake, Nana’s amazing salads and sweet potatoes, giant turkeys, mashed potatoes (with the skins) and bickering with my brother and sisters.

My siblings and cousins are probably going to kill me when they see this.. but I couldn’t resist…Check out my awesome red velvet dress with the super frilly collar…EEK!

One of our famous holiday dinners... circa 1990-91

“Moving on…

I thought I’d show you some of my recent obsessions in the food blog world, maybe something you could use for the big Thanksgiving feast you’re attending! I have made almost all of these recipes or similar versions of them and can tell you that they are great! All of these are a little different than your traditional Turkey Day Fare. Be warned, you are about to be blown away!

1. Swiss Chard Sweet Potato Gratin. 

Deb is the best. Smitten Kitchen is one of my go-to food blogs, whether it be for dinner, dessert or a snack. This Gratin will rock your socks off! We made this for Christmas last year and as a vegetarian dish at our wedding…there was nothing left. Absolutely amazing!

2. Apple Pie Cookies

Another Smitten Kitchen Creation, these cookies are not for the faint of heart, but they are so worth it. If you’re looking for a fun twist on a traditional dessert, then these are the cookie for you. Just be warned, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul-Not because they are difficult to make, but they are a little labor intensive.

3. Caramelized Onion Dip

If you are anything like me, the apps are just as important as the main course. This dip is from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, simple to make and a little fancier than the standard french onion dip. I think it’s even better after sitting in the fridge for a day, allowing the flavor to really come out. This is a great dish to bring along, serve it with veggies, crackers or some tortilla chips.

4. Rosemary Olive Oil Cake

Another 101 Cookbooks recipe, this is one of my favorite cakes to make. More savory than sweet, it’s got a little bit of everything: glorious undertones of rosemary, dark chocolate surprises, and the moistness that every olive oil cake has. Yum! I throw in some flax seed meal just to give it that extra something. Again, if you’re looking for something a little different, make this! Actually, just make it anyway.

5. Pumpkin Cream Pie

Confession, I haven’t actually made this pie, but it looks mouthwatering. I love Pioneer Woman’s blog because she makes everything so easy. She also uses real ingredients. I may have to make this for our celebration…now to convince Ben that we need another dessert…

6. Spaghetti Squash with Maple Syrup and Shallots

Spaghetti Squash. I adore it. Add Maple Syrup and Shallots, you have a winner. Not only is it fun to eat, but it’s soooooo goooooood! Another win for P-Dub.

7. Chicken (or turkey?) Pot Pie with Cream Cheese and Chive Buscuits

I know this is a leftovers recipe, but still. Look at it, Joy the Baker rocks. This rocks. How else are you gonna use up all that turkey?

8. Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake

This cake is awesome. I mean, just look at the frosting! I didn’t use as much sugar in the frosting but that’s only because I am not a super sweet person. It’s something fun and different! Try it!!! Just make sure not to use overly ripe avocados, especially in the frosting, it will quickly turn that vibrant green to a weird brownish color.

9. Quinoa Stuffing

Once again, I haven’t made this but it looks great. It’s got so many of my favorite ingredients in it. Whether you are gluten-free or not, this is definitely something to try! Quinoa makes me happy, it is fun to eat and so good for you!

10. Shredded Brussel Sprouts

I know Brussels Sprouts aren’t for everyone, but really, these sound sooooo goood!  (sorry, you have to scroll down to get to this recipe.) I definitely think these are worth a try…I mean, they have pancetta and caraway in them, how can you go wrong?!

That’s all for now. Let me know if you end up trying any of these and what you think! What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Be on the lookout for a sampling of our Thanksgiving feast (the first in our new apartment as a married couple! AH!)

Have a safe, happy and blessed holiday!