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!

diy all the things!

Edited:  I looked up “diy gif” and there was one of a guy cutting off his thumb.  I’m hoping it was fake.  Nasty.

I’ve mentioned it before but when I get really into obsessed with something, I like to buy EVERYTHING all at once.  I have so many ideas running through my mind that I want to just dive in – of course I need all of the supplies, right?

ohhh yes, my glue gun is my new favorite tool!

*Sigh*.  Traditionally this leads to my partial downfall.  I will buy everything but then start to lose momentum.  Pretty soon, there are 1/2 started projects all around me.  They clutter up the place (even more) and I put off finishing them.  I’ve got all of the supplies after all, so I can do it anytime!  Fast forward and only 1/2 of them are done.  And some of the fun part is over with.  Boo.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep and thought of a really great idea for a mini makeover for my bedroom.  It will look neato when all finished.  But as I wrote about earlier, I purchased some canvases to paint my bird-branch-masterpiece.  I also picked up some paint to fix-up these small mirrors I have, the triangle banner isn’t hung yet, nor is the twine up that I will adhere pictures to.

Clearly, I have a problem!

So once I found the decor I wanted for my room, I was all ready to hit BUY.  Magically, I held off and committed to not buying it until I’ve finished a few of the other pending projects.  Big deal for me folks!  I’m very impatient person and this pre-buying everything was modeled for me by my mum.  We both have/had all of these amazing ideas and our brains are/were filled with creative ideas!  However, the follow through isn’t/wasn’t all that great.  I very much want to work on this since it’s one of the paths that lead to some of my hoarding in the first place.  Despite my major desire to purchase all the supplies, I’m holding strong to this idea of completing projects before getting everything for the new ones that are swimming around in my brain.

***Awkward transition***  Treadmill run again today.  Thankfully, it was a better than the one the other night.  I did some squats, burpees and some ab work to warm up my muscles.  I definitely think this was part of the problem the other night.  I fueled up with some caffeine as well.  I ordered the coffee protein drink Click a year back but never tried it (eek – recurring theme?!) until yesterday.  I didn’t it mix it well enough and the clumps were very slimy.  Today, I grabbed my alcohol shaker and it worked like a charm.  The boost of energy is appreciated as is the extra protein.  Just don’t drink the bottom dredges when you are almost finished – this is where the slimy chunks live.

this is familiar but still grateful!  I wouldn’t be running at all without my trusty tready!

a water-drinking fiend

I did some of the running yesterday.  It wasn’t pretty.  I might have had something to do with me laying around until 8:15 pm and then attempting to coax my muscles into actually moving.  I’m fairly certain those muscles had atrophied during my couch laziness.  Of course that means today‘s run will be off the charts amazing – right?

I have the next two days off.  This week is spring break and I decided taking two days vacation was a good idea.  I was wrong – it was a fantastic idea!  I have all kinds of plans for this weekend, some of which involve some crafty business and cleaning all the things in my apt.  There is a chance none of this will happen and I will exist in my sweatpants and a hoodie, snuggling my cat.  It really is 50/50 at this point but I’m headed into it with some motivation.  Fingers crossed I can use this motivation for the greater good!

Today is the beginning of Lent.  I took one of those Buzzfeed surveys titled, “what you should give up for Lent”.  The survey determination?  Television.

Yep, I don’t know how I feel about this.  First of all, how does Buzzfeed know me so well?!  I swear, they have spies everywhere!  Or maybe they work for the NSA –  this makes more sense in my brain.  Anyway, this is probably a really good idea.  I’m sure I would get a lot more done if I didn’t spend time in front of the boob-tube.  However, I don’t want to give up tv.  There I said it.  But I could scale my tv watching down.  I should think of a time limit… or something.  I shall ponder this.

Last year I gave up my snooze button.  This was remarkably difficult.  I want to give it a shot again this year.  I failed my first day but I shall not give up!  I’m so completely addicted to my snooze button.  I set 3 alarms because I am this dependent on it.  I’ve read the science-y articles that say hitting snooze is detrimental to feeling awake but in the morning when I’m all warm and cozy it’s difficult to believe said science-y articles.

I also like to do things that are beneficial for Lent.  I guess the snooze button falls under this and I have a one or two other ideas that I’m hoping to put into action.

I got to pick these nummies up today!  Wahoo!

girl scout cookiesYou can bet your sweet bippy I tore into these about .03 seconds after I picked them up.  It would have been sooner but I figured stuffing my face with cookies in front of others would be less than appetizing.  I’m probably going to alienate many with this admission, nevertheless here is a truth about me:  I can’t stand Thin Mints.

Last and this is going to be TMI… I peed 10x yesterday!  This is huge for me!  To be honest, this is sometimes more than I pee in TWO days, let alone one.  I definitely have an issue with hydrating.  Today, I’m already on my third water bottle (24 oz) so I am very proud of myself.

 What are you proud of yourself for?

 Are you a Girl Scout cookie fan?  Which kind. 

I’m not one of those people

Breaking news:  this morning I was one of those people who forgot to eat.  Trust me, this NEVER happens.  But I got into work and started working on a project.  And was drinking coffee.  At 11 am, I was suddenly very hungry and realized I forgot to eat my almond/coconut Kind bar.  First of all, this in itself is astonishing considering I love me my Kind bars.  Second, I don’t forget to eat.  This concept is quite odd to me.  Third, it’s probably been 7 years since I last forgot to eat breakfast.  I suddenly feel lost.  WHO AM I?

Why didn’t I eat it straight-away after this realization?  I was meeting my friend for lunch at 11:45 at Panera so there wasn’t really a point.  Although I was nervous that later on I wouldn’t be able to feel full.  This used to happen to me all the time when I didn’t eat in the morning.  I wouldn’t eat until 1 pm or 2 pm and then proceeded to eat the rest of the day/evening.  Whenever anyone asks me how I lost weight in the first place, my answer is always, “I started eating breakfast”.  Really, this changed my eating habits on a permanent basis.

Anyway, back to how I originally started this post.  Not quite sure why I’ve gone all radio silent this past week.  I could blame it on feeling completely exhausted every night after getting home from work.  I could also blame it on some writer’s block.  Then there is the fact I was feeling lazy and falling into a napping habit.  Or because I’ve been taking my meds in the middle of the day in an attempt to make my dosage 12 hours apart.

Hmm… these are all fairly accurate reasons.  So there you go.

Thankfully, these reasons haven’t kept me from running.  I’ve been sticking with my plan pretty well with only a missed run here and there.  Remember – this is good for me!  I did decide to skip the 1/2 this past Sunday.  It snowed the night before (4′) and was a combo of frozen roadways and a freezing morning.  Not to mention, I woke up late and with a headache.  All of these made for running 2 and 1/2 hours seem incredibly less appealing.  I don’t regret my choice although I do feel a bit wimpy.  My treadmill and I are super good buddies at this point.

I also created some art!  I had a bit of help but here is the finished product:

daisy artIt’s hanging in my living room and definitely helps with some necessary color.  Naturally, now all I want to do is CREATE!  I purchased three more canvases in hopes of painting this:

or at least something fairly close
or at least something fairly close

Thank you pinterest, for ever fueling my project endeavors.

Last oddball thing:  for some reason I’ve started saying “oil” in a Southern accent.  I looked for gif or video to help explain this but to no avail.  I think the best way to describe it is, I say “uhl” – I’m not sure where the “o” or the “i” went.  I’m from WA state.

It’s very strange I tell ya.  I have no idea where this came from!

measuring matters

Great scott, I have to stop watching HGtv!  Actually, what I am really obsessed with is Rehab Addict.  Nicole Curtis is basically awesome and I wish I had her skills.  I would have built a mini mansion at this point.  Well, the mini mansion would be for Simon but I would definitely have some shelves!

I wish I had a dog to blame my mess on!

She talks a lot about salvage yards and they always look incredible.  I found one online here in Kzoo and headed down there yesterday.  I wanted to price out an old door for a possible headboard, some storage crates for my bathroom and possibly some for shelves for my kitchen.  Or some reclaimed wood for those shelves.  From a barn.  Natch. (Can I even express how much I HATE the shortening of the words?!  I’m still not sure why I wrote that)

I got it in my mind that “salvage” meant “cheap”.  Nope.  In fact, this is not the case at all!  I did find a cool door but it was almost $200.  There was a mirror that had possibilities but even that was expensive.  I did get this nifty crate (and a sliver) for $20:

someone painted the inside pink - lame.  But I can put my dvds in there along with a decoration
someone painted the inside pink – lame. But I can put my dvds in there along with a decoration

I headed out for wooden wine boxes next.  A local liquor store has them for $20.  They were all out so I drove to another one and they gave me two – FOR FREE!  I was beyond excited and celebrated by buying some alcohol.

What did I actually accomplish this weekend in regards to some DIY?  I created my masterpiece!

I love it!
I love it!

I wanted a white trash can to blend in but could only find black in the style I wanted.  A serious moment of inspiration and my polka dot garbage can was born.  I’m in love.

these were my two ingredients
these were my two ingredients

Next, I decided to give my cords a makeover.  I don’t have much of an option of hiding the cords so I took some washi tape to them to make them less ugly.  They are cuter for sure.  I have a little white box that I’m going to hang then they won’t dangle quite so much.

ew - ugly
ew – ugly
much prettier cords!
much prettier cords!

Then I took three trips to my storage.  The stuff that went in was mostly items I want to keep – Christmas and Halloween decorations.  Two other bins are things (scrapbooking supplies) I want to sell but don’t have time at the moment to organize it.  Also, I wanted it out of my living room.  I basically added over 3 feet to my living room by getting it out.

“there’s so much room for activities!”

My super epic plan for the weekend was to take one of my very bland walls and add some pizzazz.  How?  Temporary wallpaper!  My original plan was to washi tape it but I don’t know dimensions and ended up with little tiny, skinny rolls of tape.  Apparently, size matters when it comes to DIY and so does learning how to read dimensions.

I went onto the Sherwin-Williams website and fell in love with a few different prints.  I headed to the store ready to purchase a roll – yay!  Wah-wah… you have to order it.  They don’t have any on-hand in the store.  I feel I should have had that info in my brain already but whatever.  Since we have established I am not a patient person, I figured I should re-imagine what to do with this wall.  I’m still thinking.

A couple of other projects are in the works (yes, I do start several at once!) but they aren’t picture ready just yet.  This week, I’m looking forward to my maint guys hanging my curtains along with my wine boxes (as shelves) in my kitchen.  I feel like it will then look like I’m actually making progress.

Oh yeah, and a long run on the docket today!  OUTSIDE!  Wahoo!

Are you in DIY?

Do you start a number of projects at once?  Or concentrate on one?  Tell me about your projects!

get your holiday craft on!

Holiday gift/wish lists are going up on blogs everywhere.  I’m sure others are doing what I’m about to do but I thought I would flex my creative juices along with getting some use out of my pinterest obsession.

Even though I procrastinate like crazy, I love making Christmas gifts.  Finishing them is a completely different story but the following are some ideas I’ve come across or done myself.  Maybe they will provide some inspiration for the person who is difficult to buy for or even the person who already has what they need/want.

1.  Sprinkle or confetti ornament:  I love this idea.  My mom had TONS of sprinkles at the time of her passing and my sister and I divvied them up.  They are crazy cute so this would be a great way to use them.  The clear empty ornament balls are approximately .99 each and sprinkles are $1-$5.00.  This giftie can be used year after year and is easily customizable considering the wide variety of sprinkles.  The link and picture shows how the blogger coated the inside of the ornament with a varnish.  I’m simply going to fill the bad boy with sprinkles or confetti.

I think this one calls for some kind of varnish but I'm just going to fill this whole thing up
ooooo – so pretty!

2.  The tie-flannel blankets:  Yep, these are a great standby!  It has appeal for all sexes and all ages – I think this is one of the reasons I like it.  The flannel isn’t always cheap but JoAnn’s and Hobby Lobby have weekly coupons.

aww - my sweet niece and I making my sister's blanket
aww – my sweet niece and I making my sister’s blanket

3.  T-shirts:  at least 6 years ago, my student staff wanted to make t-shirts for a team event.  They got the t-shirts and took a Sharpie to them.  I still have mine and the ink is still visible.  Designing your own t-shirt is easily personalized with a fun saying/design.  Like I said, Sharpies work, I’ve seen bleach pens, and spray paint also works.  I’ve used cotton t’s but tech t’s are also possible.

3b.  Pillow cases, tea towels or any other fabric-y item:  two years ago, I inked some pillow cases for my student staff.  I used fabric pens and a stencil.  They looked good, if I do say so myself.  I actually got this idea from my mom years ago when we did this at one of my birthday parties as the activity and party favor.  Some of my friends still have theirs!

I made 12 of these bad boys!
I made 12 of these bad boys!

4.  Glasses (plates, bowls, whatever):  I’ve seen stemless wine glasses on pinterst that have been painted and they look awesome.  The wine glasses are nifty and mugs are very cute.  The key here is to get the right Sharpie pens or the ink smears and disappears.

5.  Photographs:  My brother is a professional photographer and I LOVE his photographs.  I’ve asked for plenty of them for gifties in the past.  But you don’t have to be a super pro!  My niece also has the eye and has taken some beautiful shots.  If you’ve captured a cool picture, print it and frame it.  Who doesn’t love some art?

get it? she has “the eye”? yep, I’m a dork

6.  Photograph words/letters:  I feel badly for the person who first came up with this idea because now I’m ripping it off… but so have a bunch of other folks so my guilt is mitigated a bit.  Have you seen the collages of words or names spelled out with photos of objects that look like letters?  They are really neat!  This does take some creativity and time but is well-worth it!  My friend sent me the bottom set of pics two years ago after everything with my mom.  There are TONS of ways to create your message!

eyeloveewe6b.  I also love taking a framing mat and cutting the inside out of it in a certain shape or letter.  I made these for my staff once – I took the mats down to Hobby Lobby’s frame section and they cut out a block “W” (this was done very quickly and cheaply by the way).  Then I put pictures and copies of funny memories of the year in the negative space.  Popped it in a frame and yay! a neato gift!  I love a good monogram!

7.  Framed recipe cards:  I love this idea and my friend recently did it in her kitchen – she framed recipe cards that family members had created in the past.  What a wonderful way to honor a relative’s/friend’s memory!  I am so doing this for my own apt with some of my mom’s recipe cards.

8.  Medal hanger, cute decoration and other subway lettering wall hangings:  okay, so that was a TERRIBLE title but bear with me.  A medal hanger really isn’t that tough to make if you aren’t looking for a metal one.  Some wood, and twist in hooks and shazaam!  A medal hanger!  Then you can personalize it however you want!  Even if it isn’t capable of holding 20 medals, who cares?  I also see very cute wooden creations with song lyrics, poems or quotes on them in stores all the time.  Again, these can easily be crafted with a trip to the hardware store and then a craft store.  Did you know Lowe’s and Home Depot will cut the wood for you?  I know you can get the wood pieces at the craft store as well but make sure it isn’t warped.  Sometimes they aren’t in very good shape.

9.  Scrubs, bath bombs and aromatherapy:  There are quite a number of recipes for scrubs and bath bombs online.  I made the scrub/bath salts two years ago and they were adorable.  Aromatherapy is also a useful idea!  Bath and Bodyworks sells this lavender spray to spruce up your linens before bed – it smells wonderful and gives bedding a sense of luxury.  Not to mention lavender promotes relaxation.  But guess what?  It isn’t cheap.   Make it yourself!  Lemongrass has a calming effect, peppermint energizes – the list continues and can be made into spritzes, bath products or a sachet.  What I like about these ideas are once you buy the supplies, you can make several gifts from the stash.

aromatherapy10.  Lawn games:  Have you heard of bags a.k.a cornhole?  This lawn game is wildly popular here in the midwest so a few years back I made my boyfriend at the time his own set.  I did have some help as I don’t have ton of tools.  Then I asked my artsy friend to draw the logo of his favorite football team on it.  Great scott!  It looked fantastic!  You can also make a ladder golf set or a game of washers.

11.  Create an exercise dvd:  either film yourself doing some workouts (this would definitely take a lot of time!) or put together a dvd filled with a variety of routines and/or videos from a bunch of sources.  I’m sure there are some copyright issues here but maybe if you aren’t selling it?  Look into it a bit <— yes, this is my “legal disclaimer”!  But seriously – how is this any different from making someone a mixed tape in high school?!

I wouldn’t say all of these presents are super cheap, which I think is a common misconception concerning homemade gifts.  That being said, there are ways to keep some of the suggestions  on the lower end of the expense scale.  The dollar store has quality options or online stores provide decent deals.  The other expense is your time!  I tried to pick ideas that wouldn’t require weeks of work.  In fact, the lawn game idea is what took me the longest (and cost the most) out of all of the above suggestions.  Oh wait – the word photographs could take some time too.  The other trouble I find with making presents is many options are geared toward women.  A couple of the above are an anyone option but this is tricky.

mine will be a bit better than this!

The biggest thing is not to add more stress to your holiday!  I’m making some this year because I was stumped on gift ideas beyond items that were completely out of my price range.  Or I did find something and am using a homemade gift as a stocking stuffer.  I enjoy the creative process so this is my idea of holiday cheer!

a back to school crafty

Well, it’s time… students start arriving back to campus tomorrow.  It’s a little nuts – I feel like they just left!  Everyone is all ready to go!  For the staff that I supervise, I wanted to give them a little something to celebrate opening with as well as a “job well done!” through all of training.  We have been in training just shy of a month so A LOT of effort has been put into getting things ready to go – they deserved it!

Luckily, pinterest and I are tight I found a couple of cute ideas.  I supervise 12 individuals and 7 of them are assistants to the other 5.  Everyone got a bit of candy and some really cute post its I found at Office Depot

oh office supplies… you complete me

I put all of this in a brown paper lunch sack along with a package of microwave popcorn and a can of pop.  On the front I wrote, “POP, POP, FIZZ, FIZZ, WHAT A GREAT HD YOU IS!” or whichever title belonged to them.  I also wrote a little message.  They turned out cute!

I love a good rhyme!

Finally, the 5 got a little extra something.  I made them little wipe-off boards out of an inexpensive picture frame – thank you again pinterest!  I wrote a “to-do list” for each of them that was personal for them and (hopefully) humorous.  These turned out really cute!  I was pleased!

yay! cute is totally my thing :)

I used some bright yellow notebook paper as the backing but you could spice it up any way you wanted!  Originally, I was going to rummage through my scrapbook paper to find paper that went along with something they liked to do but it would have raised the complication level a wee bit.  I tend to pick the hardest way to do things when sometimes simple is okay too.  Nevertheless, putting fun paper would be an easy way to personalize this a bit more for a giftie.  I also gave them each a wipe-off board marker.

Yippee!  I love doing little projects like this!  Since I do tend to overcomplicated things at times, the projects don’t always get finished.  I’m working on this habit!  These are all finished and have already been delivered.  Score one point for me!

There you go!  A cute back to school project that is very simple, fairly cheap and USEFUL!