Let's Have a Quickie

That's what she said.

Get your minds out of the gutter—I of course, innocently meant that I only have time for a quick update today.

I have mixed feelings about this week. It's both kicking my ass and making me really excited all at the same time. For example, last night, I worked until 12:30am. That's for the birds. But deadlines linger this week and thus is my life right now until my "transition" is over.

BUT, the night was made better when my husband told me around 11:30pm that he booked our flight to Europe. WHAT WHAT! We love to travel and get the bug to go somewhere pretty frequently. Now, we typically don't just hop on over to Europe on a whim, but we've talked about this trip for awhile.

We've been talking about when we want to start having kids, and we both decided that one BIG trip was due before we think seriously about it. Last year it was Hawaii (granted, it was our honeymoon) and this year it's Europe. We were trying for South America, but unfortunately do not have thousands of dollars lying around to book flights, nor do we have unlimited vacation time that would allow us to see all the places we want to there. We DID however, have tons of airline miles and vouchers and thus, booked our flights for free! So we're off across the pond from Dec. 27 to Jan. 7!

So, that happened.

AND, my entire family is coming in town today for my cousin's wedding this weekend, so I'm SUPER excited. I'm talking sisters, nieces, dad, step mom, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, brother in laws, etc. The week is jam-packed with activity, but what I'm most excited for (aside from the wedding of course) is Halloween!

We're hosting everyone - about 25 people - at our place for pizza, drinks and trick-or-treating! Some of us will take the little kiddos out and about in our hood while everyone else kicks it our place and drinks their faces off. Tis what we do best in the Zupek family.  I'm just really excited to spend some QT with people I don't get to see often enough.

Speaking of Halloween, is anyone else dressing up tomorrow? We dressed up on Saturday night and I'm repeating my outfit for the office work party tomorrow. Going to give more detail on this easy-peasy costume later this week, but here's a peek at the husband—er—MacGruber and I.

Sorry for this random post. I'm so insanely busy at work right now, I really didn't even have the 10 minutes it took for me to write this. And I'm especially sorry to those who have just joined the blog - read up on past stuff this year, don't let this be your first impression of me!

Speaking of new followers/fans, welcome to everyone! I was so excited to be a part of Erin's giveaway and I can't wait to get to know all of you more!

What are you all doing for Halloween?

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The Easiest No-Bake Recipe. Ever

So, I'm preeettttty bad at baking. Try as I might, anything that involves eggs, flour and sugar is most likely not going to turn out like it does in the pictures, on the website or in my head.


When my friend Grace asked me to bring a dessert to her twin boys' birthday party this weekend, I thought, oh great. I immediately turned to my Pinterest board, "Lay Off Me, I'm Starving," where I frequently pin a bunch of recipes that look amazing but I assume are out of my ability zone.

Alas, I found this amazingly easy—and delicious—recipe for beginners: Reese's Peanut Butter Bark.
                                                                                            Source: hersheys.com via Rachel on Pinterest

Today I'm linking up with Steph and Katie for "Saw it. Pinned It. Did It!" Many others chose to do projects, but I think my recipe applies.This recipe was seriously SO easy. It took all of 10 minutes. And it is DELISH!

  • 2 packages (4 oz. each) HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar, broken into pieces
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts or toasted almonds, coarsely chopped (optional)
  1. Cover cookie sheet or tray with wax paper.
  2. Place chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chocolate is melted and smooth when stirred.
  3. Immediately place peanut butter chips and shortening in second microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, until chips are melted and mixture is smooth when stirred; stir in peanuts, if used.
  4. Alternately spoon above mixtures onto prepared tray; swirl with knife for marbled effect. Gently tap tray on countertop to even out thickness of mixture.
    5. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until firm. Break into pieces. Store in cool, dry place. Makes about 1 pound candy.
What did you see, pin and do?
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To the Volume 3

The last time you heard from me, I was in a pretty lousy mood. Luckily, several things have happened between then and now that have turned my mood around. (I just typed that to the tune of "Turn the Beat Around." Wow.)

Namely, some really exciting things happened for me at work. Plus, over the weekend my bestie made an impromptu visit, which can cheer me up any day. In any case, I'm long overdue for one of my more popular blog posts. Ladies and gents, without further adieu, I give you To The, Volume 3.

To the
TV show Awkward. This is one of the most underrated shows on television. It's full of some the most hilarious and inappropriate one-liners ever. Example: "Tonight I'm breaking all the rules — and my hymen." I mean...

For reals though, you know all the times I say "you're welcome," in this blog? You know all the times YOU say "you're welcome" in YOUR blogs, social media sites and in your little brain? That comes from Awkward, people! From Sadie Saxton to be exact. It even has its own hashtag on Twitter. Seriously, go watch. #YoureWelcome.

To the
people who misuse the word 'literally.' You're the worst kind of people. Literally. By definition, literally means “in a literal or strict sense.’’It is NOT a synonym for 'actually' or 'really' or 'seriously.' For example, when someone says, "I was so scared, I literally died!" Well, no, you didn't literally die, because you just told me that story, which means you're alive. I get that people use it for impact, and it IS funny, I admit. But only when you know you're using it incorrectly.

To the
girls who go into the stall next to me and/or talk to me while I'm peeing. What is your problem? Question: if there are three empty stalls and I go to the one on the far left, which one should you go in? Answer: Not the middle one. Question: At what point did I make it seem like I wanted to have a confessional during tinkle time in the bathroom? Answer: Never.

To that point. To the to people who are clearly pooping in the bathroom when I come in and who just sit there, waiting for me to leave before continuing with their business: You've been sitting there for so long quietly squeezing your cheeks, you're not fooling anyone. Obviously you don't need to pee. Just let it go. Everyone Poops. A book told me so.

To the
gin buckets I had last weekend. I'm going to go ahead and not post the video my sister took of me vomiting the next morning.

To the
presidential election. Are you over yet? I don't spout political opinions, but I cannot listen to another idiotic word come from Mittens' mouth.

To the
fall. You are my favorite. I love everything about you from football and tailgating to boots and sweaters to leaves changing to Halloween to Thanksgiving to cooler weather.

To the people who don't shower daily. I don't judge you. It's more like envy.

To the
sock bun. I love you. I never really understood you before, but then my co-worker showed me the amazingness of your ways. Exhibit A:

 me, my bestie, and my sock bun!
To the  
lady who gave me a seat on the train on the way home from work with the caveat of "I've been sitting all day." So have I, biotch. What, because I want to continue sitting on my commute home, you're better than me?

To the
taco pizza. You are the best thing that was ever created. Specifically, the kind from Happy Joe's, but the kind from Casey's (yes the gas station) and Pizza Ranch are a close second. Try it. You'll thank me. #YoureWelcome.

To the people who stand next to me on the El platform, even though the entire thing is open. You might as well sit next to me in the bathroom stall. See above.

Who or what is on your "to the" list?

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First World Problems

Oh hey, ya'll. Happy Hump Day :)

Changing things up tonight. The other day, I read a really great post about perspective by Erin, and it got me thinking.

I try to keep it pretty light here, but the truth is, I've got some deep thoughts swirling around in this head. More than that, there is some heavy stuff going on outside of my head, too. As in real life. Unfortunately, it's these types of situations that make me realize how lucky I am, how many blessing and opportunities I'm given every day. But why does it take something terrible happening to someone else to make us realize what we've been given?

It's all about perspective. It's so easy to go through life stressed out or worried about something, anything, big or small. I know because I do it all the time. Ask my husband--I can find a reason to stress out about anything.

The same goes with complaining. How often do you complain about something that many people would consider a blessing? Take me, for example. I will admit that I complained and pouted nearly every day leading up to my birthday about having to the Tough Mudder in Seattle. I pouted because no one wanted to drink on my actual birthday because we had the race the next morning. Why wasn't I thankful that I was going on a weekend getaway with my friends? Why wasn't I grateful for the good friends we were going to go see and celebrate with? Why wasn't I more appreciative that I'm healthy and strong enough to complete such a challenging race?

There are people out there who have it so, so much worse than me. Or you.

We complain about our weight. Think about all the people in the world who are starving.
We complain about work - having to go, hating what we do, or being too busy. At least you have a job.
We gripe about not having enough money. At least you earn enough--even if it's just enough--to have a roof over your head, put food in your mouth and enjoy yourself a little bit.
Fighting with your parents? I bet those who have lost a parent would kill to fight their mom and dad.
Too many places to go, people to see, things to do? Sure beats sitting on your ass, having no one in your life and zero opportunity.
Can't decide what to wear? How lucky you are to have all those clothes!
Sick of traveling? Be grateful for the opportunity to get out of your world and see new places, experience new things. To see part of the world, even if it's in small town Iowa.

These are what I call "first world problems."

Now, don't get me wrong. Some people have real stress and real problems. The other day, a close family friend was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Last month, I witnessed a man die in a car crash. He had a car seat in the back of his car. I have friends who've had miscarriages, who have buried their parents, who have lost their jobs. Those are problems. Yet I don't hear them complaining.

One of my strongest convictions is never to judge someone because you don't know what they're going through. That you really should think about walking a mile in someone else's shoes. And that things can always, always be worse.

Be kind. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Recognize blessings.

What are you thankful for today?

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Shock, Drop and Roll

I'm refraining from posting my regular weekend update today, mostly because it was pretty tame. Friday was one of the more miserable days of my life as I couldn't stop sneezing/coughing/blowing my nose. Saturday's highlights included a trip to the minute clinic, followed by Ashley's going away party. I'm sure you can imagine how that went for me based on last week's blog post. Sunday was the Chicago Marathon but I remained captive to my bed, getting up long enough to cook some chili and pumpkin bread.

(Hold on. I'm watching the Real Housewives of New York reunion and I can't even focus.) Holy moly. These yahoos are all hot messes.

Speaking of hot messes, it's the time you've all been waiting for: The Tough Mudder Recap.

One thing is for sure: Tough Mudder is One Tough Mother.

It was everything I knew it would be: grueling, scary and rewarding. It was also everything I didn't expect it to be: physically possible for me to complete and ... fun.
 My husband and I after finishing.

Yes, I said fun. You heard it here, folks: Tough Mudder, "the most challenging event on the planet," was fun. (Nearly) all 11 miles, 20 obstacles and 3 hours 15 minutes of it. Everyone on our team finished and everyone completed and/or tried to complete every obstacle. Even me, who decided before I even started the race that I wasn't completing any challenges that involved heights or that threatened my safety.

I didn't remember that I decided those things before scaling 12-15 ft walls, climbing 20-ft spider webs, hiking up hills at a 45-degree angle, jumping off a 15-ft platform, swimming through ice water or running through a field of live wires waiting to shock me.
This is me, jumping from said 15-foot platform into a cold abyss. What 29-year-old plugs her nose? This girl.

I'd say for me, the race definitely much more of a mental challenge than a physical one. Don't get me wrong: I definitely relied on my male teammates to help me get over walls, I wasn't even close to crossing TWO monkey bars, and I most certainly wouldn't have completed "Everest" without three dudes pulling—no, hoisting—me over the edge.
That's not me, just the obstacle. The pipe was greased, and we were muddy, wet and exhausted. Not easy.

But a lot of it was simply mustering the courage to try something that intimidated me or telling myself to pick up my legs and keep moving. As my teammates and I were running along mile 9 or something stupid, when we were all exhausted and it felt like we were running with body weights—oh yes, that would be the mud caked in EVERYWHERE, combined with the water in my shoes—I let them in on a secret.

"Has anyone seen Finding Nemo?" I asked. "Yes," they all panted. "You know how Dorie says, "just keep swimming, just swimming..." I go on. "Yes," they respond, waiting for my point. "Just keep running, just keep running..." I laughed. And so we did.

This is us at the start of the race. Happy.

I'm taking a page from my teammate and fellow blogger, Beth (pictured above) and going to do a little Q&A:

What was the worst obstacle for you?
Electroshock therapy. Beth said it best that day: You know those cartoons when someone gets electrocuted and you can see their skeleton? That's exactly what it felt like. 10,000 volts of electricity is no joke. That shit hurts. You can literally feel it in your bones.

I ran through at full force, only to have a wire shock me so violently near the beginning, it brought me to my knees. TO MY KNEES, people. And then, I couldn't get up because every time I did, I just got shocked and dropped. Again and again and again. Shock, drop and roll, baby. I fell so hard I cut open my friggin' knee. Enjoy these "official" photos. (Excuse the quality on some, I "borrowed" them from the event site without buying them.)

A close second was the Arctic Enema, where you have to jump into an ice bath, submerge yourself long enough to swim under a wooden plank and then swim to the other side.

That's my "Holy &(*&(^&^ this water is cold!" face.

And your favorite obstacle?
Tough to say. I really liked the ones that involved mud, actually. There was one called the Mud Mile, that required wading through waist-deep mud and then having to climb up a muddy hill...up, down, up down. I liked that one. I also liked any that required climbing/being high up, such as Berlin Walls, Spiders Web and Cliffhanger. I didn't have enough time to be scared of the height, so I just did them, and I felt proud of myself for not crying like a baby.

If you could change one thing about the event, what would it be?
Not much, actually. The course was pretty awesome, as it took you through woods, ravines, rock quarrys, etc. I felt kind of like a bad ass leaping over logs and streams during our runs. But, I think I would make the obstacles closer together. It made the miles go by faster when you didn't have to run a mile to get to another one. On the flip side, we did experience some bottlenecks that made it difficult to keep moving, which you just had to do. Just keep swimming...

Would you do it again?
Tough to say. I was swayed once, I could probably be swayed again. I don't know if it would be easier or harder knowing what I know now. Like Beth said, it'd be hard to convince myself to go through Electroshock again.

Would you train for it differently if you did it again?
Definitely less running, and more cross training and strength. If you can run 4 miles without stopping, you're fine because you never run more than I'd say 1-2 miles at a time. I'd also drop some pounds. I say that not being all "I'm so fat," but more thinking about how many times I had to step on someone, or someone had to pull me up. On Everest, I had no upper body strength to speak of, and I was just dead weight for those guys. (Sorry about that.) In any case, if I did do it again, my goals would be to do some of the physical challenges a little better. Like completing Funky Monkey or Hangin' Tough.

Worst bruise?
I banged up my knee pretty bad when I fell during Electroshock Therapy (see my knee on the right). I'm not quite sure where I got the shiner on my left leg, but the picture below is from more than a week later. I think I was also the most sore of my team. It hurt to smile, breathe and move in general.

Glad you did it?     
Absolutely. As much bitching and moaning as I did before it, I am so happy that I did it. It was the most rewarding experience to date with a great group of people, and I'm proud of myself. I sincerely thank all of them for keeping me going and getting me over the hurdles, both literally and figuratively.

Here we are, minus one, after our finish: GirlsWhoGetAround.Com

One final note: One of my teammates had a Go Pro camera - you know, one of those cameras you can wear on your head? So he has the whole thing on film and once we get an edited version, I'll share it with you. Until then, here are is the official Tough Mudder Seattle video.

What do you think? Would you ever do a Tough Mudder?

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