I just ate an entire sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting.

No regrets.

Okay, maybe one regret: That I don't have any more Thin Mints.

So I posted last Monday to update you on my latest life happenings and included the empty promise of posting more often. And here we are, over a week later, and I'm just now writing something else.

I really don't know what my problem is. I just have nothing interesting to write about right now. Not like I ever had anything exceptional to write about in the first place, but you know what I mean. Right? Like, the things that happen to me on a daily basis are kind of interesting sometimes, but I don't think they warrant an entire blog post.

I had an ultrasound on my legs last week, but other than being completely freaked out by the sound of my own blood rushing through my veins and laying spread-eagle on a table without pants, it's not that remarkable.

I finally got in to see my GP and he ordered an ultrasound on my legs to see if I had a blood clot. You see, I've seen three different medical specialists and no one knows why my hamstrings hurt and so my life has more or less become a game of tests to see what isn't causing my leg pain in hopes that will somehow magically reveal what is wrong with my muscle.

I don't have low iron levels.
My pelvis IS out of alignment again, but that's just my crazy pelvis being my crazy pelvis.
I don't have any blood clots.
I don't have any muscular tears.
I don't have any tenderness when you prod the muscle.

So it must be my back! That's the general consensus right now, anyways. Apparently the mild back pain I started suffering from about two weeks ago is the reason why my hamstring has been hurting the past 4 months.

I'm too tired to question it. Fine. Whatever. Just tell me what I need to do to fix my back so I can fix my leg.

The good news is that I've resumed my normal number of running days each week and I've been consistently doing so without any lasting soreness. The bad news is that I'm suddenly really slow and feel super out of shape. In all of this mess, I only took one full week off of running, so I'm not sure why I'm riding the endurance struggle bus, but hey! I'm running!

I cranked out 3 miles on my lunch break today and even got in some intervals. No walk breaks. I'll take it. I'll take it. I'll take it.

And I have got to pick up my running game so I can balance my calories burned with the number of Girl Scout cookies I've been shoving in my face.

Clayton and I both ordered cookies from our respective work places and brought them home on the same day to be like, "Surprise! I got you cookies!" It was kind of cute that we both had the same mindset of wooing each other with cheap cookies, but also resulted in a disgusting amount of sugar in our house. My solution is to always eat it all at once to eliminate the temptation.

And now I want to slip into a cookie coma.

After a whirlwind two weeks, I'm back from my January travels and super happy I don't have to go to the airport again until March. Some people like to fly, but I find the simple act of going to the airport exhausting. I hate waiting around. I hate taking my shoes off for TSA because I always seem to be the only person who forgot to wear socks. I hate sitting next to strangers on the airplane because I never know how conversational I'm supposed to be.

But I love reaching my destination!

My first trek was a solo work trip to San Diego. My role is to provide marketing strategy and brand direction to our outsides companies and how can I help market something I've never seen? I got to tour the facility and meet the faces I've been communicating with via email. Everyone was wonderful. They set me up in my own mini-office and I even completed a project while I was there!

My trip to California was very quick and I only had a few hours to explore on my own. After the workday, I drove about an hour or so out to the beach at Torrey Pines. I found a killer parking spot and got to walk along the water and watch the sunset.

The scenery went from moody and blue to golden and majestic in a matter of minutes.

I kind of fell in love with San Diego. There are hiking trails EVERYWHERE and people just generally love being outside. It's too bad the cost of living is so incredibly outrageous because I could totally see myself living there.

After coming home from California, I had a few days to catch up on work and then prepare for my next excursion to ...


Brittany and I arrived in Orlando last Tuesday night and spent all of Wednesday at the Magic Kingdom. 

I'm only slightly bummed that I never got to experience Disney World as a child, but holy cow! It is just as magical (if not more so) as a fully-formed adult. When we stepped onto Main Street and saw Cinderella's castle for the first time, my heart literally skipped a beat. I'm a very emotional person so I spent the entire day bouncing between unbridled excitement and intense feelings of nostalgia. I even teared up during the Little Mermaid ride like the true goober that I am. (I forgot that the song "Part of Your World" existed and I also forgot that I still know every single lyric to every single song in that movie.)

Guys, we did the entirety of Magic Kingdom in one day. Crappy weather + off season = almost zero wait for every single ride and attraction. We walked through the entrance of the park and immediately hopped onto Space Mountain. And when I say "immediately hopped on", I mean we walked straight through the empty waiting lines and got on the first waiting roller coaster car. 

It poured rain in the early hours of the morning before tapering off into a misty sprinkle in the afternoon. We even lucked out with a few hours of no rain at all! Things didn't start to get messy rain-wise until an hour or so before the parked closed, but we were armed with ponchos and didn't really care. 

We were so, so grateful for the ponchos. And the child in the front row 
looks like he's having a TERRIBLE time. Doesn't he know? There's no frowning at Disney World.

Splash down!

My favorite Magic Kingdom attractions were (in order):

1.) Splash Mountain (the most fun, yet politically incorrect ride EVER)
2.) Peter Pan's Flight (I've always adored this movie)
3.) Mickey's PhilharMagic (IT HAD ALL THE CHILDHOOD FEELS!)

Close runner-ups: Everything else. Except for It's a Small World. I get that it's an iconic ride, but I still wanted to jump overboard. 

My only complaint about the Magic Kingdom is that it was sorely lacking in the Lion King department. It's my understanding that the Animal Kingdom will give you your Lion King fix, but I was still disappointed that Rafiki wasn't dangling baby Simba out of a tower window in Cinderella's castle. 


Brittany was totally willing to wait in line with me to "meet" the rootinest tootinest cowboy in the wild wild West, but I was good 4 feet taller than everyone else in line and something tells me that it wouldn't be as cute when I tried to hug him. 

I want to give a huge shout-out to Beth and Marc for letting us stay with them during our lightning-fast tour of Disney World. Your extensive Disney knowledge was priceless and we deeply, deeply appreciate your hospitality. Thank you!!!

I love traveling, but I am so glad to be home. I had to call Clayton on more than one occasion to ask him to put Joey on the phone. 

I'm also really excited to catch up with you guys in the upcoming days. Is it just me, or is this winter going by super fast? I'm definitely not complaining though. Between being gone, getting in lots of quality time with friends, and temperatures rarely dipping below 30°; I haven't had to worry too much about the Winter Blues!

I think word is finally starting to get around that I love to eat.

I was approached by a PR rep that works for Stouffer's and asked if I would be interested in trying their new Fit Kitchen frozen meals. Fit Kitchen frozen meals are advertised as being protein-packed meals that are ideal for active folks with busy lives. It sounded like something I might enjoy and hey, free food.

They sent me two coupons in the mail and I completely forgot about them until just this past week. I was happy I found them because I'll be traveling for most of the week and didn't want to spend money on my normal salad fixings that would start to go bad while I was away.

I selected the Oven Roasted Chicken and the Cilantro Lime Chicken (other options included Steak Fajita and Bourbon Steak). I'm not sure why I chose chicken for both meals, but they seemed most likely to be appetizing at lunchtime.

Today I brought the Oven Roasted Chicken to work and in true frozen meal fashion, it took about 8 minutes to fully cook in the microwave with a few stirring breaks in the middle. And again, in true frozen meal fashion, I burned the dickens out of my hands from the steam that escaped when I peeled off the rest of the film cover.

My cooked meal. 

As far as looks go, the Fit Kitchen meals look like you're standard frozen meal ... not very inspiring (but that's to be expected). The chicken, gravy, potatoes, and broccoli migrated together and basically became stir fry. The broccoli had a surprisingly fresh flavor, but I was disappointed that the chicken was so bland. Luckily I'll pretty much eat anything covered in gravy. The potatoes were my favorite, but potatoes are my favorite part of anything 100% of the time.

I think I was most interested in trying the Fit Kitchen meals because each meal has 25+ grams of protein. As someone who works out pretty hard 6 out of 7 days a week and trains for several races during the year, I need a lot of lean protein in my diet. So to me, that made the frozen meal an easy win.

But I can't really comment on how filling the meal was because I'm always hungry. Always. No amount of food is never enough and yes, I was still hungry after eating it.

However, the Fit Kitchen meals are guilty of the same issue I have with frozen meals in general: Way too much sodium (31% of the recommended daily amount). I understand that sodium is a staple in most processed foods (and let's be honest, it's kind of needed to help the taste), but this is precisely why I don't buy these types of meals. I get bloated from the simple act of being alive, so I definitely do not need to add additional salt to my diet.

Would I recommend Stouffer's Fit Kitchen meals to my friends and families? Maybe. I'd always tell you to buy something fresh if at all possible. But if you were desperate for something quick and easy for lunch, I definitely think the Fit Kitchen meals are some of the lesser of the frozen meal evils. The taste is pretty good and if you have a normal stomach, it should be a satisfying lunch with a fair amount of protein and vitamins.

**I was given coupons for 2 free Stouffer's Fit Kitchen meals in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. 

Ya'll know that New Year's Resolutions are pretty hit or miss for me (and everyone, really). Some years I'm like, "GET BETTER AT ALL THE THINGS!" and other years I'm more like, "DOING THINGS IS OVERRATED!"

This year I'm somewhere more in the middle. I guess you could say I have a moderately lazy desire to improve my life in areas that don't take too much time or effort.

Or money.

I was pretty lazy about reading in 2015, even though the will to pick up one of my many unread books was strong. I had really good intentions and would even check out large stacks of books from the library, but I'd only half-read most of them before they were due back.

My desire for afternoon naps was always stronger than the desire for personal enrichment.

Even being forced to take time off from running didn't increase my reading hours (but it definitely increased my nap hours. Next year I think I'm going to set myself up for success and make my New Year's Resolution to nap more).

I found this 2016 Reading Challenge on Facebook and immediately printed several copies and took it to work. My co-workers are bookworms and I knew they'd be on board (I was right). The challenge doesn't have an overwhelming number of books to read, so we figured it would be a good chance to get our feet wet and see what happens. If we plow through this in a few months (which is likely), we can try another one!

Without boring you with my entire list of chosen books (that's bound to change anyway), here are a few of my selections for the reading challenge:

A book I should have read in high school: Lord of the Flies. This one was difficult to come up with because my high school pretty much ran the gamut on traditional high school reading material. Plus, being in Honor's English required a lovely little thing called Summer Reading, so I read the typical required literature and then some. Oddly enough, we never read Lord of the Flies. I've heard disturbing things about it, so of course I'm interested.

A book that intimidates you: Under the Dome by Stephen King ... for no reason other than it's 1,000 pages. I looked at a list compiled on Goodreads.com of classically intimidating books, but none of the plot lines grabbed me. I know part of the challenge would be making way your through something that doesn't necessarily spark your fire, but I know me and I will end up abandoning something I can't get into. Plus, my sister is the most avid Stephen King fan on the planet and I'd love to talk about it with her.

A book that was published this year: Heartless by Marissa Meyers. We have to wait until the fall of 2016 for this one to be released, but my co-workers and I are in agreement that it sounds intriguing. A teaser from Amazon: "Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love." Aren't we all?

Creating my list for the reading challenge also spawned a secondary list of books that I've always wanted to read, but completely forgot about. Dracula, for starters. And A Confederacy of Dunces. And Paradise Lost. (Just kidding ... I'll never read that one. I was intrigued by the storyline, but then saw that it was one long poem. No, thanks. Been there, done that with The Odyssey and it nearly killed me. I like my poems short and rhyming words like "blue" and "you".)

Are you interested in a reading challenge this year? What would be on your book list?

This morning I asked Clayton what the temperature was and after reading our digital heating system (because we’re fancy), he quoted one of my favorite lines from Ron White’s You Can’t Fix Stupid album:

“There isn’t one. We are minus a temperature.”

Well, folks, we had a good run. If you need me, I’ll be buried under every blanket, scarf, and sweatshirt I own. I’ll see ya in the spring!

Clayton tried to take Joey for a walk last night, but they barely made it three houses down the street before he had to pick up our beagle and carry him back to the house. I didn’t think it was possible, but Joey’s more of a wimp about the cold than I am.

It’s a good thing I’m peacin’ out of here next week and heading for warmer weather!

Next week I’ll be traveling to San Diego for work and the last time I checked, it’s going to be in the mid-60s during my visit. That’s not hot by any means, but when it’s 0 degrees in Indiana, any else will feel like a trip to the desert. It's the first time I'm traveling by myself, and I'm kind of nervous about getting taken. I told Clayton to start looking for Liam Neeson's phone number now.

Then the week after next? I’m going to Disney World!

And I totally don’t mean, “Courtney, you just won the Super Bowl, what are you going to do next!?” kind of Disney World trip. I’m actually going to Disney World.

Because if there's one thing in my life I'm never going to do, it's win a Super Bowl.

So yes, I'll be going to Disney World for the very first time as a 30 year-old childless woman. I have it on good authority that this is actually the best way to experience Disney for the first time, so I'm pretty excited. One of my bestest girlfriends found an incredible deal on airfare (so incredible I had to ask, "So this airplane has like, wings and an engine, right?), and I couldn't resist. It's going to be a spontaneous, whirlwind of a trip and I love that I get to experience it with someone that inspires me so much. Brittany recently traveled to Iceland solo for no reason other than she found a great deal and wanted to go (I was worried about her getting taken the whole time, but she was totally fine).

I may or may not have subscribed to an online thread that posts recent Robin Hood character sightings at Magic Kingdom. The way I feel about potentially getting my picture taken with a giant, sweaty puppet of Robin Hood is how normal people probably feel about meeting Britney Spears or the Pope.

And do I even need to mention that we're going to NYC in March with my siblings-in-law? That's right, I'll be spending spring break scouting out every delicious bakery in Manhattan.  

Over this past weekend, Clay and I got together for a small dinner party with Dan and Emily. Us gals tried to make breakfast calzones, but the recipe was bogus and we ended up adding a box of frozen spinach and made a quiche instead. While eating, we revisited a conversation we had on New Year's Eve 2014 and started to iron out plans for going to France in the spring of 2017. Narrowing down dates made it all so real, I was too excited to fall asleep that night. 

I studied French from my sophomore year in high school all the way through college, and I feel like I owe it to Rick Steves to finally visit one of the castles or wineries he was always yammering about in his videos. 

Having so many great things on the horizon is really helping to keep my Winter Blues at bay. I'm definitely one of those people whose mood is greatly affected by the weather (and not being able to run right now has only amplified those feelings), so making plans for the immediate, near, and not-so-faraway future is a welcome distraction. 

I have a good feeling about 2016.