About me sections are weird, right? Right. This is probably wildly long-winded, but it's what makes me, me. 

The short version: I grew up cooking and baking with my mom, found out about my celiacs at 21, traveled a lot for work eating a ton of food, and created The Gluten Free Babe LLC out of some tough times. 

The long as hell version: 

I grew up as any Irish-Italian kid did - eating loaves of bread, learning to cook and bake, and cherishing food and family gatherings as the center of our home. Pasta was my safe place and cannolis made me happy. My mother passed down all her knowledge to me - from Sunday Gravy to Italian Love Knot Cookies, I have an arsenal of traditional Italian cuisine under my belt. 

~Record Scratch~ So you're probably wondering how I ended up here. 

In 2016 I went to the Campus Medical Center at my college for an ankle sprain. What I would quickly learn is that what I grew up calling "chicken skin" on my arms, legs, and chest was actually a gluten rash. I had always had stomach issues, being diagnosed in 2012 with GERD, but growing out of it shortly after (was it actually Celiacs? The World may never know). I received a second opinion, and then some testing, and BOOM, here we are - Celiacs Disease. 

I'm someone who, a major part my personality for a very long time was work. In college while working towards my degree in Psychology, I landed my first social media manager position for a local clothing company in Montclair, NJ. Previously I had only ran socials for myself, which at the time I was a freelance makeup artist. After college I began my professional climb - first as an e-commerce/ digital marketing coordinator for a tech company, then moving to an E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Coordinator for Wurth USA, a global automotive shop supplies company. While I ran socials in both positions (among many other job duties), at Wurth I was also their NASCAR liaison, running social media (& more) for Wurth Racing, a Team Penske sponsor of the #2 car, driven by Brad Keselowski at the time. I had the pleasure of doing this for two seasons, before moving on from my time at Wurth. (Brad is literally the sweetest human on Earth, and it's true, he really will not forget your name).

 

I know what you're thinking. What the hell does NASCAR have to do with food? 

 

When I was at Wurth I traveled a lot not only for NASCAR but to visit Districts I supported for E-Commerce. East Coast, West Coast, Gulf Coast, Germany, you name it. Everywhere I went, I got to try local cuisine, expanding my "palette" (hate that phrase so much, cringe), and learning more about other cultures. Texas BBQ? Incredible. Louisiana Jambalaya? To die for. Spetzel in Germany? Like nothing I've ever had. In so many ways my time at Wurth USA shaped who I am not only as a professional but as a cook. 

When I left Wurth, I had a little ~snafu~ with my employment, and found myself in a sticky, unemployed situation. While my now-husband I grew very close during this time, I still was depressed - work was such a big part of me and everything I ever knew - and now that was gone. 

That's when The Gluten Free Babe LLC was born. TGFB LLC was not only a way for me to express myself but a way for me to keep my social media skills sharp. I was finding comfort in doing research on brands, my gut health, and cooking Dave meals. 

Professionally the next year and a half would be weird for me, taking an interim job in Human Resources - it wasn't a position for me, a creative, but let me tell you I can explain a benefits package and walk you through a W4 in my sleep. Dave and I also would utilize my lunch hour to find new gluten free friendly restaurants around Fairfield, NJ. (Hi Jose Tejas, we love you. Can we have your old menu back please?)

I left that position to continue climbing upwards - I accepted a job as Director of Marketing Services at a medical marketing agency. I was only with the company for 5 months before COVID cut my time short, but when I tell you I learned SO much - not only about marketing, Google Ads, website building, SEO, business analysis, and proposals, but also about how not to be spoken to and belittled by a VP, this agency shaped my professional future. I did however get let go in a park. Fun fact. Covid was weird, man. 

But COVID hit. The world changed, I lost my job and I once again found myself stuck in my house, depressed and uninspired. You can only walk through target so many times. Companies were not hiring marketing professionals, if anything they were cutting marketing budgets. So I turned hard to The Gluten Free Babe LLC. Waking up in the morning meant I got to hug my husky, plan my wedding, and create a new recipe.

I've since found a home at PolyGel LLC in NJ, as their Director of Business Development. I'm able to use all the skills I've picked up along the way - including skills I use for The Gluten Free Babe. 

I've probably bored you at this point, my b. 

The Gluten Free Babe LLC is so much more than a blog to me. It's my safe haven, my creative outlet, my familiarity, and my happy place. 

I hope you are able to find comfort in my posts, and maybe even pick up a new skill for cutting an onion right, or a new recipe for a food you've been missing. I know my style of writing is very "millennial" - I won't bore you before a recipe (I promise), and you can probably sense the sarcasm oozing out my posts. If I'm not for you, that's totally cool.

Now that I told you my life story, we're basically besties. Feel free to drop a line below, to my email, theglutenfreebabe@gmail.com or on Instagram. I check my message requests fairly regularly and I am always here to be your gluten free internet pal. 

xx Nicole

An Unconventional Celiacs Journey by a Workaholic
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