Five on Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 2012

June 2012

To compare:

December 2013

December 2013

Weird. Weird. Weird. Long or short?

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

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

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

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

Don’t forget to ask me anything!

 


Confessions; Life, Lately

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while…so here we go…

-Friday, I applied to be a part of  the “fit team” for a company that I adore… with my cell phone. I could NOT get the link to work on my computer so I finally resorted to using my phone… Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?! I really hope I didn’t make any fat-finger typos…and I really hope they pick me!!!! I’m 90% sure that they won’t… but there’s always that 10% chance…keep your fingers crossed!

– You may or may not know that I haven’t been on Facebook in a long time. In all honesty, I don’t miss it (other than it seems to be the only way some people keep in touch), however, as much as I hate to admit it, as I am trying to grow/improve the blog… I may have to reactivate it sooner rather than later… any thoughts on this? I’d love some opinions from other bloggers.

-I really miss just hanging out with my best. I haven’t seen her face in far too long and it really stinks…we keep in touch, don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice to hang out in person and not through phone or internet.

-Speaking of social media, Twitter completely overwhelms me sometimes. That is all.

-The #WinterMiles Challenge? I ran a total of 20.25 miles for week 1 (that includes an unscheduled rest day to deal with the head cold from hell).  I am pretty proud of myself because getting up the gumption to run in the cold is really difficult for me…some nights, I’ll sit in my car for 20 minutes before I finally talk myself into getting out and actually doing the run!

-Speaking of running, we have our first two registered runners for Strides for James! I am so excited! Once again, if you’re looking to visit Upstate NY…or live here, sign up! It’s going to be a great race! Not to mention, we have some amazing swag!

strides for james

-I told a white lie the other day, Farmer Ben and I never made it to the gym the other night… by the time he got home the other day, we wouldn’t have made it before they closed…but we did get out and run on a crazy windy night… this weekend, I took advantage of the ridiculously warm weather… maybe this week. I’m dying to check it out!

-I was really happy to get some positive feedback on this post. In case you missed it, here it is again:

budget

-I probably forgot to mention this, but Farmer Ben and I are doing the core and more challenge from Lifting Revolution. Basically, you commit to doing a plank, followed by some push-ups every day for the month of January. I am happy to report that I haven’t missed a day yet…. this never happens!

-Yesterday, Farmer Ben forced me to go to Burlington with him for a mini-date day…which meant that I had to do a night run. I don’t regret it one bit.

-I haven’t been working at job number 2 much lately… really not at all for the last month or so (except New Year’s Eve). Anyway, I got called in to work Friday and Saturday night at the new location. This location has an upstairs…. my calves are ridiculously sore from running up and down the stairs carrying trays of food and drink…can we call this cross-training?

-I saw a post on Instagram the other day that really ticked me off. It was one of those “inspirational” quotes that people take time to fancy up and make pretty. It said something along the lines of  “It’s easier to get up early and workout than it is to look in the mirror every day and not like what you see.”

Ugh!!! Why is it that the only reason a person needs to work out is if they don’t like their appearance? Okay, I get it…sometimes we need to lose a little weight or tone up and it’s easy to get stuck on that, but seriously?! Chances are if you hate the way you look that much, working out at 5:00 am is NOT going to change that. Why can’t someone work out because they like to? AND why is it that in order to be considered an athlete, you have to wake up at some ungodly hour in order to “get your sweat on?!” I’m sorry, but I do the majority of my workouts in the evening…and I’ve always been that way. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting up early, and I truly envy those who have the discipline to do so… but I am NOT one of those people …and I still like myself… and I don’t workout because I hate what I see in the mirror…I workout because I like the way it makes me feel …End rant.

Your Turn: What’s going on in your life? Any juicy confessions I need to know about? “Fit-spirational” quotes, yes or no?

 


Big (Racing) News!

Hi Friends!

As you may or may not know, I am one of the race directors for Strides for James. It’s a 5k/10k run  and walk, in memory of my co-worker who passed away in 2012. James was a runner and loved the outdoors…so this event is a perfect way to honor his memory.

james

We are super excited to share that registration is now open! This year’s run is on May 10, 2014.

If you live in Upstate NY, or are looking for a reason to visit in the spring, I highly recommend signing up! All race profits go to the James Wilson Scholarship Fund at Clinton Community College. This cause is very near and dear to my heart and our scholarship committee has worked extremely hard to make the fund happen.

In its first year, the run had over 200 participants and raised over $5,000. This year we hope to double that.

Our second year will be bigger and better than last year, here’s why:

We’ve already have some AMAZING sponsors lined up. I can’t wait to fill you all in… It hurts to keep it under wraps right now!

We’ve moved the event back to Chazy, NY (where James lived). That’s right, we are back on his home turf!

We’ve lowered the registration fee…and who doesn’t love saving money?

If you have any questions, would like to volunteer or are interested in sponsorship opportunities, you can email us at stridesforjames@gmail.com.

To register, use this link: http://www.active.com/chazy-ny/running/races/strides-for-james-2014-4941580.  *

*Please note, there will be team and family discounts. Please contact us at the above email address for information regarding these discounts.

Anyway, please pass this along! Hope to see you on race day….and I apologize now for future posts written on this…I am pretty darn excited!

Let’s chat, what races are you signed up for this year? Ever volunteered/directed a race? What are some of your favorite charities?

 


Wow.

I’m going to make this short and sweet.

Today, I realized that we have 102 registered participants for Strides for James. And there is still time to sign up!

I am just speechless. And overwhelmed. And ecstatic. And so excited for this  event.

Tomorrow I am going up to the park so I can do a race day timeline. And it’s going to be beautiful out there!

Fifteen days til race day.

Do you have a cause you are passionate about? Any races coming up? 

Happy weekend!


Mischief Managed

So… things have been a bit nuts lately. For real… This post is, for lack of a better word…a mish-mash of everything.

Race planning is still going strong. We’ve gotten even more sponsors and are getting more registrations… have you signed up yet?!

We also put up our really sweet banner.

Donated by Loreman's. Pretty sweet!

Donated by Loreman’s. Pretty sweet!

Check out our Facebook page to see some really awesome prizes!

I’m taking a really cool class through the University of Florida, but it’s got bonkers forum posts. Seriously…every morning I have approximately 27 new emails notifying me that someone added to a thread. I think it’s time to update my subscription settings….I just can’t keep up. Per my usual fashion, I am behind on my journal posts (whoops!) but will be catching up this weekend. The good thing is, I am getting a refresher on economics.

Our home has turned into a chicken sausage test kitchen. Really delicious… but holy cow (ha ha! Get it?) , I’ve been getting so much protein lately! My body is so…confused!

Here’s what we had for dinner last night:

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Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs.

I’ll call it a win.

Tonight, I’m making this sauce…partly because I need to use up the cauliflower that has been hanging out in the kitchen for the last week and partly because it’s delicious….and pretty good for you.

I have cookies to bake for people who have been pretty awesome lately.

I really want it to start getting warm outside. Why do I live in Upstate NY again? Also, why does everyone have their cranky pants on today?! Geesh!

Also, I made a really awesome (slightly crazy) decision the other day and cut my hair… super short. I love it! Thank you, Lianna!

Mischief Managed.

Mischief Managed.

Happy Friday!


To Read: Born to Run

So… I know I am like 2432545 years too late, but I just borrowed Born To Run by Christopher McDougall from the library and I am super excited to start reading it!

Here is a synopsis taken from the author’s website.

“Full of incredible characters, amazing athletic achievements, cutting-edge science, and, most of all, pure inspiration, Born to Run is an epic adventure that began with one simple question: Why does my foot hurt? In search of an answer, Christopher McDougall sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets, and in the process shows us that everything we thought we knew about running is wrong.

Isolated by the most savage terrain in North America, the reclusive Tarahumara Indians of Mexico’s deadly Copper Canyons are custodians of a lost art. For centuries they have practiced techniques that allow them to run hundreds of miles without rest and chase down anything from a deer to an Olympic marathoner while enjoying every mile of it. Their superhuman talent is matched by uncanny health and serenity, leaving the Tarahumara immune to the diseases and strife that plague modern existence. With the help of Caballo Blanco, a mysterious loner who lives among the tribe, the author was able not only to uncover the secrets of the Tarahumara but also to find his own inner ultra-athlete, as he trained for the challenge of a lifetime: a fifty-mile race through the heart of Tarahumara country pitting the tribe against an odd band of Americans, including a star ultramarathoner, a beautiful young surfer, and a barefoot wonder.

With a sharp wit and wild exuberance, McDougall takes us from the high-tech science labs at Harvard to the sun-baked valleys and freezing peaks across North America, where ever-growing numbers of ultrarunners are pushing their bodies to the limit, and, finally, to the climactic race in the Copper Canyons. Born to Run is that rare book that will not only engage your mind but inspire your body when you realize that the secret to happiness is right at your feet, and that you, indeed all of us, were born to run (source).” 

My inner running nerd is screaming in excitement. I can’t wait to dig into this book. I’ve been hearing about it for so long…I figured it was about time.

In all honesty, my passion for running has been low as of late, and I am looking for inspiration. I blame the weather… that’s why I feel like it was perfect timing for me to stumble upon this book at the library (have I mentioned how much I love going to the library?!).

In recent years, I haven’t read a lot of books on running, but I feel like this will be a good place to pick up where I left off. I’ll definitely let you know my thoughts.

In other news, Strides for James will be hosting a contest. Check the Strides for James Facebook page or my twitter account (@noellesnotebook) for details later on today!

Happy Running Reading!

What about you?! Any books you have read that really lit a fire in you?! Any must-reads on your list?! 


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!


Confession Time: Life, Lately.

It’s finally Friday.

The weekend.

Today, we are doing a lunch-time perch fry at work . I made pumpkin cookies with chocolate chips. Recipe is coming…I still have half a pumpkin in my fridge!

There are some perks of living in the North Country…like random Friday Frying at lunch. Yum. Is it sad that this is the highlight of my week? I don’t feel bad.

I’m obsessively reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I started The Girl Who Played with Fire last night and I have a feeling I won’t be sleeping much until I finish it..probably sometime in the next two days.

I am also obsessed with the library. Movies, books, cookbooks. My inner nerd is so happy these days. Yesterday, I borrowed Citizen Kane and requested a few books that I have been dying to read. I also took out a book on Jewish Food for Farmer Ben. He loves it. I love him. It’s perfect.

My last post highlighted a serious food event. I melted a giant chunk of dark chocolate in a double-boiler. Then I dipped pretzels, placed them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and stuck them in the freezer. Such a quick and easy snack to satisfy your sweet and salty craving. Farmer Ben had gotten to the pretzels during the day, so I’ll have to make more this weekend. Le Sigh. Thankfully, I have a ridiculous brick of chocolate that is dying to be used.

image

Chocolate Pretzels.

That’s another thing. The hubs and I have gotten into a routine of prepping food on Sunday night for the week. I blame our Financial Peace class…

But I love it. I get to mess up the kitchen, chat with the hubs and daydream about all the delicious things we’ll be eating throughout the week.

We typically soak some kind of bean, cook off some rice, pasta or quinoa, make a batch of tortilla dough to hang out in the fridge until we are ready to whip up some breakfast burritos or wraps, chop up some veggies, boil some potatoes for breakfast and cook some kind of meat or lentils. I even make granola or bread when the mood strikes!

image

Aprihop Beer Bread with Lemon Peel and Tarragon. Another Sunday Adventure

It’s almost therapeutic. Until I have to do the dishes.

Also… Farmer Ben and I have Serrano Cream Cheese. Delicious. And Brilliant. Especially on breakfast burritos.

I’ve also rediscovered my love of all things pickled… like pickled asparagus.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Pickled Asparagus and beer bread. Dinner.

Running has been rough. It’s been cold. Really cold. I feel shin splints coming on. I hate shin splints…I am not sure what to do. On one hand, I need to keep running. I need to get those miles in. On the other, I don’t want shin splints or other weird aches and pains I’ve been having.

image

A surprisingly warm night. You can’t tell but I am actually wearing 37 layers.

My body hasn’t been very happy with me lately, which further frustrates me. I’m playing around with my food intake to see if I can figure it out.

On a happier night, the hubby and I, after a bit of a hiatus, moved onto Level 2 of the Shred. It’s hard, but in a good way!

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Post Shred.

I desperately need new running shoes. But I’m broke. I think it’s time to get a part-time gig…as much as I don’t want to.

I recently discovered Pinch of Yum. Great site with some great recipes. Check it out!

I also discovered Dinner with Julie. Ditto.

This is probably going to offend some people, but I want to put it out there. You are NOT going to hell if you eat meat on a Friday. Sorry to disappoint you.  If you need further clarification, open up your Bible and read Mark 7:15-23. If you still feel that you need to deny yourself, that’s fine, too. To each their own.

Speaking of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 has been all over my brain lately. I think it has something to do with the fact that I am training. Regardless, this passage has kept me pushing through a lot of tough situations lately.

Race planning has officially taken over (most of) my life. Speaking of which, if you’d like to enter Strides for James, click here. Not only do you get a sweet t-shirt, you also get entered into a drawing for some amazing prizes. Do it!

The amount of sponsors we are racking up is crazy. I am just overwhelmed.

This is a lot of hard work, but I am so looking forward to the outcome. Seriously. We are not only going to reach our goal, but we will surpass it.

I think that’s all for now.

Happy Friday. 🙂


Celebrate We Will

Life is moving really fast.

The last month has consisted of many crazy things:

  • A promotion
  • With the promotion, a new office, chair, carpet, replacement, and a raise…and a whole mess of craziness!
  • More free time..which I am so not used to!
  • Somehow, completely filling that free time
  • Financial Peace University (taking the class through our church)
  • With FPU, a lot of hard looks at our spending habits
  • Learning a lot of new information and trying not to be completely overwhelmed
  • Baby Showers, Wedding Invites, Shower plans… all that girly stuff
  • Catching up with friends
  • Meeting new friends
  • A lot of reflection
  • Planning a Fun Run for Charity
  • Training
  • Marathon Training
  • Some major fundraising for a great cause.

If you’ve been following my blog for a little while, you know that in June of 2012, I lost a co-worker and friend. It was all of a sudden and it was really hard. Our whole office felt it. But, we decided to do something to help James live on.

We started a scholarship endowment fund for James and have been working hard to reach our initial goal of $10,000.

Since we began in July of 2012, we have raised about $7,500. It’s been a lot of hard work and I am so happy to be a small part of this wonderful group. It’s amazing that this group (including co-workers, the family and community members) took such a painful loss and have turned it into a major positive.

In all honesty, I am in disbelief that we have raised so much so quickly. What an amazing group. And how amazing is our community’s generosity?! I’m speechless. It’s been so uplifting to see people come together, especially under such tragic circumstances.

James would have been 27 on February 12. I realized this a few days ago and it really hit me. He had so much life ahead of him.

I’ve been working with his sisters on planning this fun run and one of them sent me photos to use on race material. One was taken not long before he passed and seeing it was, for lack of a better word, heart-wrenching.

I’ve dealt with his death. I know that he is in a better place. But the last month–especially the last two weeks–have been really difficult. Looking at old photos, sharing stories about him, meeting and emailing his sisters… It’s comforting, but it also brings back that day in June. And it all comes back. My heart still breaks for his family.

He was such a caring, warm person… Thinking about that, well…it explains why we are already so close to our goal. Because the people who knew him, knew that. And they want to share that warmth and caring with people for years to come. I know I do.

So, we’ll continuing working toward our goal–and past it! And we’ll continue to celebrate the life that touched us, if only for a short time.

I know it’s early…but happy birthday, James. You left us too soon but I know that you’re in a better place.

Celebrate we will.

Because Life is short.

But sweet for certain.