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!!!


GBN: Week 5

I failed this week.

Actually, let’s call it a hiccup on my “Gross But Necessary” journey.

I’m sad to report that I only got out for one run this week… it was  this morning.

I did do some walking… which makes me feel a little better… but I also did a lot of eating…

Anyway, here is week 5:

Friday-Sunday: Fail. Between being slammed at work, lack of sleep and rushing to get everything ready for our trip, exercise took a back seat. I didn’t plan my days well and definitely felt the lack of movement. Ick.

Monday-Tuesday: The hubs and I did a lot of walking around Seneca Falls and Watkins Glen and took the stairs back and forth to our fourth floor hotel room (yes, this does make me feel better!)…unfortunately my phone was dead so no photo proof was taken. Semi-Fail.

Wednesday-2 mile night walk. Farmer Ben and I were both a little tired after our first day back from vacay, but realized we needed to get some exercise, so we headed out for a brisk walk. It felt get to move and we vowed to get our butts out of bed in the morning.

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I’m glowing.

Thursday-4.42 miles. I am really proud of myself for two reasons. First, I managed to drag my butt out of bed… and Ben’s. Second, I finished faster than I expected. My average pace was 9:15… and it felt good!

Because we had gotten a later start, I didn’t think that we were going to do this particular route… I was wrong.

I was determined to be back home by a certain time to avoid rushing to get ready for work. I made it! This was one of those confidence boosting runs. And I needed it.

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This is my “too many layers in my new ‘do” hairdo.

Overall, this week was a wash but I redeemed myself with today’s run. I can’t describe how great I felt when I hit my driveway.

Time management is my focus for next week. Whether it be making sure to lay out my running gear or setting my alarm clock a few minutes earlier, my goal is to be able to take my time and not have to hurry through a workout.

What are your biggest training obstacles?


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!


Honestly…

It’s Friday. The Friday after a crazy week . Finally Friday. The last thing I want to do today is work…let alone work at both jobs. But…here I am!

I’d really love to be laying on the beach right now, margarita in hand… or sitting on a patio with a bloody mary. These both sound infinitely better than working all day.

On the bright side, the hubby drove me to work AND we stopped for coffee.  It was so needed.

In other news, my waist and hips have whittled down to the point where I can take off numerous pairs of pants/shorts without unbuttoning or unzipping them, meaning that I desperately need to go shopping so I have something to hold me…

Even though I can accomplish this fancy trick, I don’t feel like I am that much thinner. I kind of feel like I am the same size. But 20 lbs is 20 lbs.  And it’s gone!

Another plus: People are actually noticing, so it must be true!

This morning I woke up approximately 50 minutes later than I had planned. What happened, Alarm C lock?! We have a standing date and you broke it!  I don’t know whether to be relieved or upset.

Even though I woke up late, I was still able to haphazardly get ready and make it to work on time… but I can’t guarantee that my hair is brushed. No big deal.

I was so planning on mailing out my foodie penpal package this morning… but I have to do it tomorrow because I left some of the items at home. Le sigh.

Our garden is out of control… I am waiting with bated breath for the avalanche of tomatoes and basil that will come in the next few weeks… we’ve gotten a few currants but I am waiting for the main event! Ah! And cucumbers… and beans … and potatoes… Yes! Life is good!

Ben made kimchi and we had it over soba noodles yesterday… it was pretty delicious but my stomach was on fire for about 4 hours after lunch. Talk about feeling the burn!

I cannot wait to soak up some sunshine tomorrow and Sunday. Bring on the SPF 50!

I also see some granola making in my future.  And napping. Definitely napping.  And running. Yes. All good things!

Happy Friday!


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!


You Don’t Need a Reason…

Update: Congratulations to Liz, you are the winner!

Sometimes you really don’t need a reason other than “just because.”

As I was sitting at my desk on Friday afternoon, wondering if I would ever make it to the end of the day, my wonderful husband walked into the office and placed a perfectly wrapped box in front of me.

“What is this?!” I asked.

He replied, “Just open it.”

I carefully opened the package, trying extra hard not to destroy the pretty wrapping paper.

The box contained a brand new Vera Bradley wallet. A cute design composed of various greens and blues. It instantly brought a smile to my face.

If you know me, you know that I don’t like to spend money on things like clothing, wallets or purses. As a result, my old wallet was on its last legs. Ben, knowing this, decided to get me a “just because” gift…that I could actually use.

So, keeping with the spirit of “just because,” I am giving away a $10 gift card to a local business.

Cheechako Taco is a bangin’ taco joint located in downtown Plattsburgh. They focus on two things: Tacos and burritos. They also get major bonus points for using local produce, tricky trivia questions and crazy decor.

They have a little something for everyone’s taste, all with a unique twist and lots of melted cheese. You can view their menu here.

I highly recommend this place. Check it out if you live in the area or even if you are just visiting!

The Rules:

  • Tell me about a time when you have gotten a “just because” gift and how it made you feel by commenting on this post.
  • One entry per person.
  • All comments must be in by Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 6:30 pm.

Disclaimer: Cheechako Taco has no idea who I am (other than a customer who frequents their shop). They are not sponsoring this giveaway in any way–I am doing it because I love tacos. And burritos. And you. The end.


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!


All I Really Want…

Is a burger and a beer. What foods are you craving right now?  

 

Hand-cut fries, grass-fed beef, Red Hen roll, bacon, braised kale, caramelized onions, arugula, house-made pickles and Vermont Cheddar.

I know a just did a post about the Farmhouse Tap & Grill, but seriously. Go there. This is their handiwork. I dream about this burger. 

Have a great day, everyone!