Chopped Round 2

I know you are wondering what my next round would look like if you read my first Chopped post.  Don’t worry, I will not let you down. My next round is here, and just as full of horrible ingredients as round 1.

Next up, main course which is my work round.  My drive into work is about 45 minutes, and that time is spent listening to an audible book or some music.  I try to mentally map out my day, and think of the important tasks that need to get accomplished first. I pull up into the parking lot, and get my favorite spot by the front door.  I am at work an hour early, to start my morning out right.

I sit down at my desk, turn on my computer, and I see what my day is about to bring me.  This round’s basket ingredients are:

-Business cards for an upcoming conference are wrong

-5 meetings scheduled at the conference have requested time changes

-Employees need travel changes

-Conference shoes didn’t arrive

-Conference T Shirts need to be packed


My perfectly organized mental game plan now has to change.  I need to organize my craptastic basket! I will be leaving for the conference tomorrow, so everything in my basket is time sensitive.  What in my basket will need the most time to correct? Business cards!

I really like the new business cards we have, but when I got my box of business cards, the logo on the front of the card was upside down.  Are you freakin kidding me?!? I call the printing company, and they are equal parts nice, and unaccommodating. They are apologetic, but feel there is no way business cards can be reprinted in such a short amount of time.  Well, that’s fine, I can take my ingredient elsewhere. I know FedEx will get these cards for me same day, so I would just like my money back. What was that? You think you will be able to get them done today. That’s what I thought!

I hang up my cell phone, which is so much less satisfying then hanging up an actual phone, don’t you think?

I’m mentally giving myself a pat on the back for being direct, and making sure our cards get handled, but it suddenly occurs to me I need to put on my desk deodorant.  The business card conversation gave me the nervous sweats.

Okay!  Now energized from my first accomplishment, and fully deodorized, I will tackle travel.  This conference is a big deal for our company, and a few employees ended up having to arrive a day early to the conference.  I have to call our travel company and make these changes over the phone. This is really one of my least favorite things to do.  I have to wait on the phone anywhere from 5 minutes to over an hour to get someone on the phone, and I have 4 different itineraries to change.  Where are my earbuds?

Success!  I found my earbuds.  And… they aren’t charged, Ugh!  Okay, Well I will just hold my phone and keep it up to my ear for that whole time.  Remember what I said about missing corded phones? Well the only time that doesn’t apply is when I get to put in my earbuds and multi task.

I dial up the travel agency, and I am on hold.  My estimated wait time is 20 minutes. Okay, twenty minutes, not horrible.  I put my phone on my desk and switch on speaker, so now I can rock out to some elevator music while I address the different clients that are requesting to change their meeting times with the big man.  

My boss’s schedule is an intricate Jenga tower of meetings.  If I pull out the wrong meeting time, and try to add it to a different slot on the top, the whole thing could crumble, and I would be left crying trying to rearrange the pieces.  So, I print out the calendar and grab my different colored pens. I shade in red the meetings that are requesting to change, and I shade in pink the most important meetings that are foundation meetings, which are so important if I try to move those, instant wreckage.

While I am emailing my first strategic reschedule, an operator from the travel company answers the phone.  How can I help you, ma’am? I know she is only referring to helping with my travel needs, but just for a moment, I want to ask if there is some way she could give me an extra day before the conference, and then clone me so my cloned self can make sure to get work done, and I am there for my kids practice, make dinner, and read their bedtime story.  Oh, and since she is offering, I would also like a mimosa right now, because this morning is a real bitch.

Instead, I let her know I need to change the outgoing flight for 4 employees, and could she please help.  Her first question is what the travel record locator is, which now I have to minimize my email I am working on and search for itineraries.  I quickly find them and rattle off the first one. Her name was Melissa and she was really nice. She put me on hold while she made the changes, which is not what every agent does.  While she is putting me on hold, I am emailing each of the clients that would like to reschedule, with a couple time options for new meeting time.


Look at me multitasking and getting it done!


Melissa is just wrapping up my last flight change, and I am feeling so much love for her right now for her efficient changes all without huge up-charges that I am wondering if what we are experiencing isn’t more than just a client/operator interaction.  Maybe what we have is more than that. Maybe this woman is my destiny…. Maybe I am sleep deprived and I am now falling in love with anyone that makes my life a tiny fraction better.

Melissa and I end our brief but satisfying relationship, and I am starving!  I look at the clock, and it is 1pm! Melissa and I were on the phone for over 2 hours getting the travel squared away.  All feelings for her abruptly come to an end. Okay, I need a power pizza from the kitchen and then get our conference shoes squared away.  My sister to the rescue! I love love love that my sister and I work together. She is my partner in crime, and is always there for me when I need a shoulder to lean on.  I message her quick to see if she is down for pizza too, and if she would please make it. She says yes! Score!

Shoes.  I don’t mean to plug any brands here in hopes of them reading my little blog and asking me to be their spokesperson and showering me with free stuff, but I have to shout out Zappos.  They are amazing, seriously amazing. So, we did get shoes in, but they weren’t all the correct sizes. I went to the Zappos website, and ordered the new shoes. Here is the main reason I am obsessed with Zappos, free next day delivery.  Now, I won’t be at the office the next day, but I am heading out a day early, and I know I can rely on one of my team members to bring them the next day.

Oh, and Zappos, if you read this, seriously sending me shoes is not necessary!  I am a size 10 and love cute flats and wedges, but there’s really no need. I just love your wide selection, prices, and great customer service. 😉


I’m happily eating my Jack’s frozen pizza, and I am responding to the clients and getting all of the schedules corrected for the upcoming days at the conference.  I am really doing good here. Everyone is getting slotted into a time that works for everyone. I only have one client that won’t work, but we are scheduling a phone meeting for the following week to touch base.  Now to tackle my last ingredient, my most simple, packing up our conference t-shirts.

I grab my giant boxes of t-shirts, t-shirt size stickers, and bands that will be holding the wrapped up shirt together.  Easy peasy, and such a zen way to round out my day, right? Wrong, Ugh these shirts are impossible to wrap and look nice.  The stickers aren’t sticking to the shirts, and those bands are seriously stretchy. It’s hurting my fingers trying to pull these little monsters around the shirts.  Trying to plan out my time clock, I thought I had planned for enough time to get these packed up and leave the necessary 15 minutes early, so I can catch the end of Brooke’s dance class.

Time is running out, and I manage to wrap most of my t-shirts, at the detriment of my poor hands.  There are a couple left, but I will just ship those with the shoes, and we can finish it up at the conference.  I put the remaining shirts in a roll-y luggage bag, and give them to my good samaritan.


Let the judging begin, we have three Colleens left, as Beauty Queen Colleen was chopped first, and if that round didn’t get her, this one would have because of the sweating.  The Colleens that are left are:


Clean freak Colleen, who was going to organize her office this morning.  She was going to go through the storage closet and make sure all of our client sway was together and easily accessible.  Also, she was going to organize her inbox to make sure any loose ends were completely wrapped up before the out of office email was set.

Master chef Colleen, was going to have a healthy lunch, and healthy snacks throughout the day.  She definitely was going to drink the recommended amount of water, and she was going to arrange a nice healthy lunch for the office next week.

Last up is hot mess Colleen.  She was going to have lunch with a friend to try to have some zen during the day, and get away a little bit from the office.  She was going to forget at least 5 things to do throughout the day, so at the end she is scrambling to get it all done. Oh, and she will forget the mail on her desk to send out before she leaves.


This round, Master Chef Colleen is for sure cut.  There are no healthy snacks or lunch. Frozen pizza, fruit snacks, and I was downing diet coke like no one’s business.  Clean freak was able to get her inbox organized and her out of office set up. Hot Mess Colleen forgot the mail on her desk.


Sometimes at the end of work, I feel like I am dragging myself to my car.  I will say when I turn that car on and start pulling away, I smile. I smile because I did it!  I did so much in that one day. Even if I couldn’t get every single thing done on my list, I did enough to make myself exhausted.  I hustled the most and the best I could, and I feel proud. I try not to let myself dwell on the mail on my desk. I can get someone to pop it in the mail for me tomorrow!  I focus on my wins, and damn I had some huge wins today. I get my second wind, and I feel ready to finish strong in my dessert round.


**For those of you that have not watched this epiphany inducing magical show, also known as chopped, let me give you a quick run down.  The show starts with 4 chefs. There is a table of three judges that are watching the chefs cook, and tasting the food at the end of each round.  The other person on the show is Ted, the Host. He explains the rules at the beginning of each show, and the narrates the play by play as the chefs are cooking.  The chefs each have their own work station with the same black basket on each of their stations. The basket is what makes this show so amazing. Each of these talented chefs have no idea what is going to be in that basket, and it is always a random mix of ingredients.  Typically one ingredient is really weird/gross/impossible. The rounds are timed, and there are three; the appetizer course, main dish, and it ends with dessert. When the time is up at the end of each round the chefs bring their dishes to present to the judges, where their dishes are inspected to make sure each of the ingredients are used, criticised and praised for the plate they put forth.  The chefs go to a side room while the judges are deliberating and criticizing a little more harshly. The chefs re-emerge and present themselves in front of the judges. Ted then steps in again to reveal to the chefs which one had the worst dish of the round, and has therefore been “Chopped”. Riveting, right?


Colleen Lieberstein

Colleen Lieberstein, Executive Administrative Assistant, is the heartbeat at two award winning and fastest growing companies in the Chicagoland area. She lives in New Lenox with her two energetic kids, and her supportive husband. Colleen loves to read, play with her children, and go on adventures with her family. Exploring new places and eating new foods is the best.