why you should solve a murder mystery with your co-workers

One of my duties at work is overseeing a training, development and recognition committee.  Amongst other duties, we are in charge of putting on our dept end of the semester gatherings.  Monday was our spring end of the semester shindig.

My committee did a great job of trying a few new things this year and for this most recent gathering, we decided to play a murder mystery game.  I LOVED the idea of this – completely different from anything we have ever done.  I was also fairly nervous that people wouldn’t participate.  My first inclination was “forced fun” and make everyone play.

However, my committee-mates overruled me (it was like some kind of royal uprising, I swear!) and we sent out invites to see who wanted to participate.  There were going to be approximately 30 people there and we needed at least 10 individuals, 15 if you wanted all of the characters represented.  Guess how many RSVP-ed?  15!  Success!  My worries that people would be “too cool for school” were completely unfounded and I dare say those who didn’t directly participate wished they had.  If more than 15 wanted to participate, I was ready to either a) split some characters, b) double some characters and/or c) give some characters a twin <— my favorite idea.

Anyway, if you haven’t hosted or been to one of these events, they are a blast.  Your guests certainly can make or break it, in that if they are lackluster when playing their character than it won’t be as much fun.  That being said, chances are the people who play their characters up will outweigh those other stinkers.  We chose the 1985 High School Reunion themed murder mystery and it was spot on for our group.  I did most of the legwork for this and if you are the organizer than make sure to allot some time to prep!  There is some pre-planning along with set-up that while certainly not difficult, is a bit time consuming.  When you order the packet, everything is there for you and realistically, you should just need to print and put together but it takes a small chunk of time.  Also, read all of this well ahead of your event – this was a blunder on my part.

My co-workers hammed this up and got into their characters!  It was so fun to watch!  Even individuals who I thought might be more reserved – nope!  They got into it!  I helped to facilitate a bit but mostly was on the logistical side as I also had someone be the moderator-type person.  Everyone had fun and the timing of the game worked well with our having lunch, too.  When I assigned characters, some I matched with their personalities and others I gave them exact opposites.  I high-fived my self for this idea.  I had a couple of people who dressed up and others who said they would’ve of but didn’t get their emails with their characters in time.  Note to self – assign characters earlier – again, I underestimated how much time the details would take.  No matter, there was hordes of dramatics!

I loved all of the over the top acting!

If you have a group of co-workers and are looking to do something different at your next office celebration, I can’t recommend this enough.  I think the packet is $15, however, we used one a co-workers purchased, so I’m not quite sure.  Or if you are planning your next family reunion, cook-out, birthday party – whatever, it’s a really good time and HIGHLY entertaining!  You can get as intricate as you want with the decorating, theme-favors or whatever.  We were fairly low-maintenance with it and it still worked.  Nothing beats watching your friends/family/co-workers/whatever essentially acting out “CLUE” right in front of you!

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sunburst 1/2 (kicked my booty, btw)

The Sunburst 1/2 was… difficult.

I could probably end the recap there but I wouldn’t be a very good blogger if I did so I shall spin my tale for y’all.

We had a bright and early wake up call at 4:15 am.  I was thrilled to be slumber party-ing it up with Meagan and her fam.  I adore her sweat pea of a little one and her hubby is entertaining.  Top off the good company with a yumo pizza dinner, some fro-yo and Meagan’s very cute puppy, I was set.  Oh, the puppy?  Her name is Sadie and she has the iconic patch over one eye.  She is cuddly and jumped up and was my spooning buddy in the middle of the night.  I’m not kidding, her head was resting next to mine on my pillow.  My heart melted a bit.

It took about an hour to get to the start and thankfully we found a spot in the (free) parking garage.  The race started RIGHT on time.  Starting out the weather was perfect and Meagan commented, “you know it could be a rough one when at 7:30 am it’s the perfect temperature.”  Foreshadowing at it’s finest.

I really wish I could tell you how despite odds being against us – neither one of us was exactly trained for 13.1, the weather was promising to be quite warm and some hesitant mental games, that we blew through the course.  Nope.  I was confident up until the 5th mile.  I pre-juiced with some Vega Sport pre-energizer at the start, which was why I made it that far!

I started losing it at what I thought was mile 6.  I told Meagan, “I don’t think I am going to make it.”  Meagan: “We are almost at mile 8, you WILL make it.”  I was grateful to hear we were almost to 8 but I was still doubting my mad running skillz.  Meagan said right as I was losing hope, she was feeling confident – this was perfect.  Meagan emotionally carried me for the rest of the race.

just another perk of running!

It was warm.  I’ve never done this race before and it was rerouted from previous years since we couldn’t end in the Notre Dame stadium.  The nice part was there was a lot of shade and the course was really pretty.  There were some rolling hills with a few steeper ones that we walked.  We did start to do some walk/running bouts.  Meagan would call out our stops and starts – essentially I didn’t have to think, just run.

The water stops were about every mile and half or so, with awesome volunteers, water and gatorade.  There was also GU at one of them – strawberry/banana (umm… no) and I grabbed it at mile 5.  Salted caramel came to the rescue at mile 10.  Mile 11 or so, I started feeling heat-strokey.  I started getting chills and wasn’t feeling well.  I let Meagan know.  This kept up for about a mile.  During this time, some of the neighborhoods had sprinklers out and I took full advantage.  This definitely helped but I knew I needed the med-tent when we crossed the finish line.

I'm smiling so hard because we are done
I’m smiling so hard because we are done

Yep, we made it.  Son of a triscuit, it was hard.  I wanted to quit oh so badly and was proud that I didn’t.  Meagan’s recap is here and while she says that she was hurting, she certainly didn’t let on, which is probably why we finished!  Right after the volunteers passed out the medals, there were folks passing out cold, wet towels – I started feeling better almost immediately.  We got our knees wrapped in ice, hit the after-race snacks, FRUIT CUPS!  This is the first time I’ve ever had this and there wasn’t even honey-dew filler!  I grabbed a popsicle (yeah!), guzzled a chocolate milk, and picked up a bagel and banana for the road.

it's blurry because my hands were shaking a bit!
it’s blurry because my hands were shaking a bit! still so pretty

I told you it was going to be a tale… A couple of things I took away from this race: 1) the gut check 2) running with someone is so much fun!  The last time I ran with anyone was a year ago – with Meagan in fact!  Yet another reason I decided run camp was a good idea.  Oh yeah, and 3) the nutty things I will do for a t-shirt and a medal.

***No picture of said medal and t-shirt because I was too tired lazy to get up off of the couch and take one… maybe another day.***

fun finds & penguins

Here are a few of my fun finds.  This is the third time I’ve typed this sentence as my stupid thumb brace has somehow magically hit all of the buttons in tandem to erase what I’ve typed.  Maybe it was the blogging gods giving me a hint…

Anyway, here we go:

First and foremost this most fabulous gif ever:

I know, I can’t help it, I’m in love with these penguins and their sort of sack race fun!

Yep, rewatch it as many times as you need/want to.  I’m in total and absolute love!

2.  At the expo this weekend I found this sweatshirt:

yay! run MI friends!

A “Run MI” hoodie!  I love me a good hoodie, or long sleeve t so this was perfect.  Not to mention it was only $25 AND it’s a decent color that won’t show too much cat hair.  Oh and Michigander pride!

3.  Honey Maid Grahamfuls.  These probably aren’t the most nutritious snack out there but it reminds of when we used to put frosting on graham crackers as a kid.  I got the peanut butter/chocolate flavor but there are a bunch to pick from.  They are tasty.

4.  Adding mini chocolate chips to my Chobani snack size yogurt.  Mini chocolate chips are too fun so I’m compelled.

again, any reason to have dean on my blog

5.  Have you seen these Procompression socks?  Oh goodness, I LOVE polka dots!  I’m getting the sleeves.  They are the sock of the month so they are cheap (use coupon code BRD).

procompression sock of the month

6.  Did you know ants hate cinnamon?  I didn’t either and I’m hoping it’s true.  There must be an ant nest outside of my apt because I’ve been seeing a few of these bad boys.  They aren’t giant carpenter ants (vomit) but they aren’t the itty-bitty ones either.  I think they are the middle children of the ant family.  I’ve lined my window sills with cinnamon as it isn’t dangerous for Simon.  Fingers crossed this works and doesn’t attract other critters, which I didn’t even consider until office mate suggested chipmunks might like it.  Just something else for me to worry about when lying in bed at night.

7.  New sunglasses.  I ALMOST bought the white polka dot ones (see the above proclamation of love) however, they were just a bit TOO big.  Settled on another gem that are still bigger but don’t completely eat my face up.

I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions
I sent this pic to my sister and friend for opinions

8.  Yuengling – as I may have mentioned, I’m not a huge beer fan but more and more it’s growing on me.  Sometimes I find it odd that the running culture does include quite a bit of beer consumption… just a thought… I had one of these puppies the other night before the race and it was very drinkable.  I will definitely purchase in the future.

9.  Head scarves!  I’m wearing one in the above sunglasses pics and I adore them.  Headbands give me headaches and these are perfect.  I haven’t gone to bohemian in the styling quite yet but the option is there.  Target, friends – they are a bit shorter than the neck scarves although you can still wear them in this fashion as well.

10.  Some good songs.  Office mate is my personal DJ and he has great taste in music.  Many of my new favorite songs on my running mix I hear first at work.  Unfortunately, they are on my ipod which is currently somewhere so I can’t give you any names.  More to come…

11.  I guess I didn’t really find this per say, it’s more like I put it into action.  I’m trying to make working out more of a habit as opposed to something I do my best to wiggle out of on a daily basis.  I don’t want to THINK it’s optional.  I took mini post-its, numbered them 1-21 and get to remove one each day I do a work out.  I’ve also established how many days I can actually miss during this period before I have to start completely over again.  Like a reverse advent calendar, I’m loving ripping one of those suckers off the wall.  I missed 3 days in a row this week though so it’s time to start over.  I was going to give myself one more day to hop back on the train but time to be more honest with myself.

is it just me?  or does this 21 look a little smug?
is it just me? or does this 21 look a little smug?

Here I go again…  That’ll do for now me thinks.

there’s a marathon afoot

There is a marathon happening outside my front door this morning.

I am wildly jealous of the runners!

Meanwhile, I am working.  Not my first choice.  Today is the Kalamazoo full, Borgess 1/2 and this year there are both  10k and 5k options as well.  It’s fantastic!  I really wanted to at least do the 10k or 1/2 but work commitments trumped.

Did I mention I was at work?

Alright, I need to breathe out the bitterness… Also happening this weekend is the Flying Pig Marathon.  I can’t even tell you how desperate I am to run this.  I collected pigs as a kid and these medals have flying pigs right on them!  I love the fun atmosphere and following them on facebook makes me want to run it even more (seriously, check out their website).  There is also a new run they created, the Queen Bee 1/2, which is in the fall.  Again, adorable and fun.

Now that I’ve lamented about the races I’m not running, I should probably make sure I’m ready for the ones I AM running.  Yesterday I set out for some miles and accomplished 5.  It’s funny because I kept wanting to stop.  “I’m tired.”  “My legs can’t go any further.”  “Why did I sign up for this again?!”

During this detrimental inner monologue I told myself that my brain was tired, not my legs.  Guess what?  This was true.  I could and did keep running.  I also asked myself, “do you want this race?”  I decided I did indeed want to run and finish my upcoming 25k; that I did indeed, want to keep running.  While I didn’t suddenly get a surge of power, I pep talked my brain and legs into running further.  Also, I came up with my mantra for the race:  “I’ll cross this *%$#$ finish line”.  Sorry for the profanity but I am going to need the aggression to boot scoot my booty along next weekend.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mental game sucks.  So, I reinstated my visualizing yesterday.  I can’t begin to express how helpful this technique is and sometimes I completely forget about it.  I imagine what it’s like to cross the finish line and the euphoria that always follows.  I also picture what the middle of the race will be like – when I want to curl up on the roadside and rock in the fetal position until someone takes pity on me quit.  While prepping myself to feel awful may not be a typical motivational practice, I need to arm myself with the weapons to defeat the negativity.  The only way I know how to do this presently is to figure out ways to encourage my feets to keep doing their thing, no matter what the rest of me is screaming.

I kind of want to make this a shirt…

I’ve got 10 miles on the docket today.  I bandaged up my feet yesterday in hopes that it would stop my Hokas from blistering my feet.  No such luck.  I was kind of surprised actually – I done bandaged them good.  What this does mean though is that I am going to need to wear my NEW shoes for the 25k.  Yet another reason my blog is called “Recipe for Disaster”… I’m going to take the newbies out tonight and the rest of the week to make sure my feet don’t catch on fire but I certainly have my concerns.  I was going to type, “it is what it is” but this doesn’t sufficiently convey my apprehension!

this does a better job…

It’s a BEAUTIFUL Sunday here.  I hope you all are having a wonderful day.  Good luck to everyone running and racing today!

uncle sam hearts tax day!

True to form, I did my taxes Monday…  I’ve nailed the art of procrastination of so many levels.

If yesterday is still sheds a shadow over your Wednesday or you just need a pick me up on a Wednesday, here is  some humor.  These are a few funnies that has made me laugh recently and wanted to share them.  Hope they do the same for you!  P.S. Uncles Sam says “thanks for filing!”  (Hmm… is it egotistical to speak for uncle sam?!)

pop up book of phobias
the horrors…
man, I love these!
man, I love these!
jurassic park
simon and I love Jurassic Park and this is very clever!
umm... this may have happened this weekend x2
umm… this may have happened this weekend x2
I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny.  lost in translation - I sounded like a crazy person
I tried explaining this to my co-worker and why I thought it was so funny. lost in translation – I sounded like a crazy person

bird and math

cracks me up!
cracks me up!

And what would this list be without a cat meme?!

haha, poor cat!
haha, poor cat!

Enjoy your Wednesday!

 

9:30 pm is a great bedtime

I am a night owl.  I have been my whole life.  Mornings are the pits.  Nevertheless, since starting school way back in the day, I’ve had to adhere to the standards of society and start the day before 10 am.  Ideally, I would sleep until 9:15 am and then hang out for a bit in my sweats with coffee.  Maybe in my next life?

Work has been exhausting this week!  Monday was hectic and I started training a new supervisee.  Tuesday I hosted a candidate, which meant being “on” all day/evening.  At one point, I thought to myself, “what am I even talking about?!”  I still have no idea – poor candidate.  Then yesterday, I was helping with an event involving over a 100 people all day, who had a ton of questions.  Oh and work into the evening as well.  Since getting older, I’ve gone from pure extrovert to borderline introvert.  That being said, it was tough having to be “on” for all of this time.

shoot… my hair isn’t long enough…

Hence my 9:30 pm bedtime on Tuesday.  Why haven’t I ever done this before?  I recognize there are benefits to going to bed early and even attempted to stick with a 11 pm bedtime in the recent months.  But it hasn’t exactly stuck.  I didn’t realize that even earlier could be better!  Who knows if I will keep this up but it’s worth a shot.

Unfortunately, due to my hectic schedule, I haven’ t run at all this week.  I’m hoping by the time I hit “publish” a run will have occurred – so can we all cross our fingers?  There hasn’t even been an opprotunity to run at lunch since a traditional lunch break either wasn’t available or I was entertaining guests.  This isn’t a normal week so I should stop whining… but I’m cold… and tired… and whiney…

OH!  Some healthy stuff!  I made my first smoothie this past weekend!  I love the idea of making a smoothie every morning for breakfast but so far this hasn’t happened in my lifetime.  Sunday I rounded up all of the ingredients and made a smoothie with strawberries, some oats, yogurt, almond milk, a banana and honey.  It was tasty!  Next time, I will blend the oats even more to make it less chunky but it was a yummy first attempt.

first smoothieI also found this blender cup, Fitlosophy Blender Bottle, (I got the 16 oz) at Target the other day.  I remembered on a whim I wanted to look for one and sure enough I found one on clearance.  It has one of those round whisk balls in it and today I gave it a shot with the Click powder.  Wowzers!  It worked so much better than I could ever have imagined!  It mixes it so well!  No slimy chunks at the bottom or that come up through the straw!  I also like that it’s now a one cup deal – any time I  can do less dishes is a happy time for me.  Over the last few days, I’ve found I only use a scoop and half of the powder and then a splash of chocolate/caramel creamer.  This was a good choice.

Despite the 7 inches of snow that fell in about 4 hours yesterday morning, I’m staying positive!  The weekend will be here soon, I will get a chance to run and on my walk to work yesterday morning I saw this!  A frozen little “heart”!  It brightened my morning.

frozen heart

cut my own hair? sure!

On Sunday, I wanted a haircut RIGHT NOW.  I was done.  It’s been about 4 months since my last cut, which is a lot considering I have shorter hair.  Typically, my style needs to kept up approximately every 6 weeks or so to keep its shape.  But I didn’t get around to it.

Then I wanted to be able to put my hair back for Dopey so I wanted to wait.  Suddenly, I couldn’t handle it any longer and I decided I was going to cut my hair myself.

enter ominous music

So yesterday, after working for a little while I went to Sally’s Beauty supply and bought a pair of hair scissors ($15.00), the clips to hold up my hair ($3.00), a handheld mirror ($5.00), a spray bottle ($2.50) and a comb ($1.00).  I told the women working the register what my plan was and they asked me if I had ever done it before.  I told them, “nope”.  That was the end of the conversation.  Oh, I could have purchased some scissors for $10.00 but I got the jazzy ones for $5.00 more.

haha, I was a bit apprehensive!
haha, I was a bit apprehensive!

I looked up tips and tricks online and found some good advice and not so good advice.  First of all, there were very few posts about how to cut/shape your shorter hair.  It was either long hair or pixie cuts.  This worried me slightly.  I found a youtube video that was okay and it was a woman cutting her long hair short.  But that was it.  Some of the solid tips were to cut it when it was wet (still doesn’t make sense to me), don’t cut a lot off at once, go slowly and practice.  Practice?  Basically, make sure you’ve cut your bangs or something a few times so you are comfortable.

yep, I’m beyond creative using an edward scissorhands gif!

Then I just went for it.  I got scissor happy at one point but after deeply cutting my finger, I slowed down.  One tip was to sketch out what you wanted your cut to look like.  I should have done this since I forgot I wanted to have some layers!  This meant I needed to cut the layers a bit shorter despite the fact I cut the bottom to the length I wanted.  So, my layers are a bit shorter than I first intentioned.

here is the before
here is the before

I sort of had an idea in my head about the final look but it wasn’t very concrete.  What did I want?  I wanted a cut where I could blow dry it and not have to use a curling iron to enhance the curls.  Or put some hair junk in it and go.  Seriously, this was my main motivation.  Lately, my hair was looking straggly and I wanted that gone too.

Here is what I came out with!  I’m proud of myself!

ta-da!  the after
ta-da! the after

Actually, I am really proud of myself!  I love the Bourne movies and in the first and third one the women have to change their appearance and just start hacking at their hair.  It always turns out really cute.  I felt I could do this too.  Yep, in my brain I know a stylist went back over it and made it look better but not my heart!

If you are thinking about cutting your own hair here are my tips:

1.  If you are nervous about doing stuff to your hair and/or are very particular don’t do it.

2.  I promise, your hair will not look like you just stepped out of a salon.  Thinking I could pull of something exactly or even similar too a salon visit would have set me up for disappointment.

3.  I knew I could get it fixed if need be.

4.  I’m pleased with my scissors – splurge on these if you go the diy route.

5.  Be careful!  The cut on my finger HURT.  I had to put the band-aid on tight to help the bleeding slow.  These little suckers are sharp.

6.  Take it slowly.  It was suggested to have a friend there too but I think this would be boring for a friend and again, I was impatient.

7.  Remember hair will grow back.  I’ve dyed my hair black, orange (strawberry blonde gone wrong) and blue – not all at once!  I’ve had some really bad haircuts and I permed my own hair once.  Since I’ve given my hair a workout I wasn’t too worried about messing up.

I have no idea if I could do it again.  I’ll try and it will probably end up with a bit different of a style!  While I didn’t set out to do this strictly for the money-saving piece, I’m taking the win.  I like the idea of going to my stylist once or twice a year and then keeping up the style on my own.  Yay!  My handiwork is pretty nifty.

Have or do you cut your own hair?

What other kinds of beauty routines to you do on your own?