Musings of a Museum Fanatic: October 2012


Museum of Science and Industry

Today I'm going to take you back to the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. We're going to take a quick look at the Museum of Science and Industry! Last time I was there was actually about a year ago for Christmas time so I thought it would be fitting to post this about now. While we were there Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light was going on with fifty trees representing countries from around the world.  

Two of my absolute favorite things to see at the MSI are the U-505 Submarine and Colleen Moore's Fairy Tale Castle.  I remember going to see the U-505 waaaay back when it actually used to be outside and you could walk through the entire thing.  They have now enclosed it, you can wander around the exhibit part for just your main entrance fee but to actually go inside for the tour is $8.  The Fairy Tale is probably my absolute favorite thing.  Built in the 1930's this thing is amazing it includes murals and paintings painted by Walt Disney himself; chandeliers adorned with real diamonds, emeralds and pearls; the tiniest bible ever to be written, dating back to 1840; and ancient statues more than 2,000 years old!  Even if you can't make it check out the online tour it does a great job with images and descriptions.  

The MSI has something for everyone really, you can look at the coal mine shaft, learn about farming, see real chicks hatching (Always a popular one!), go through dioramas of circuses, and so much more. This fall the special exhibit is Charlie Brown and the Great Exhibit. Having lived in Minnesota for a number of years (where Charles Schulz was born) this one looks like a must see.  

I would say the MSI is a must see but can get somewhat pricey with having to add on fun exhibits like the U-505, the Coal Mine and Charlie Brown.  General Admission is only $15 per adult with a discount for Chicago residents and does get you into most everything.  Like the Oriental Institute it can be a bit of a hike to get there since it's not close to the Loop but definitely worth the trip!   



So unlike the rest of America (at least most of my friends!) I had a very low key and un-Halloween weekend.  I have had a super productive weekend though!  Thursday night I crossed off one of the items from my 101 in 1001 list.  We bought new couches!  I was hoping to wait and purchase one piece at a time, since the idea of putting down $2,300 all at once freaks me out.  With the couches we currently have killing my husbands back and not doing me any favors, we decided to go for it and tell our parents for Christmas get us giftcards for places we buy our groceries at : ) We got the three and two seater!

So Stephanie and I both decided to officially start our lists November 1 but we both have actually already crossed things out ... I know I know we're such overachievers.   The entire weekend has been full of getting things accomplished for me.  Ran a bunch of errands, worked on finalizing some Pampered Chef bookings (if anyone is interested in a catalog show I'll be throwing in something special for you : )  and today we're cleaning and being all sorts of productive.  

I finished up the Pinterest DIY project for a Christmas present this weekend too!  It ended up being super easy.  The hardest part was figuring out how to keep it from sticking to the newspaper while drying.  So I ended up drying them on top of all the little paint bottles!  Here is the original, after I painted the colors and the very end result.

I think I might have to start up my 1 DIY thing each month for a year since I'm off to such a good start already!  If anyone has a good recommendations send them my way or let me know which off my "I Can Do It Myself" board I should do.


I'm cheap

Yup I'll admit it ... I'm cheap.  I'm a couponer (not extreme though!) in training but I'd like to think that I'm the clearance & deal queen.      

My couponing for groceries leaves something to be desired.  It's so hard to not get something fun and new each week.  I do try and get good deals on our regular items though.  My go to for info is Jill Cataldo, she is actually a Chicago burbs local so in addition to the big places like Target and Walmart she gives info on Dominicks and Jewel!  Every week Jill goes through and lists what item is the best deal, what coupon to use (online ones, from the paper or if the store has one) and what your end price you pay will be.  My favorite part is that she tracks produce and meat prices as well!  I've been partial to Dominicks (Safeway)  because with their Fresh Rewards you have personalized deals based on what you buy, I've been getting tons of produce deals!!

My husband teases me that I have a deal or coupon for anything when we run our errands or go out to dinner.  I belong to almost every email newsletter/reward club of every place we shop or restaurant in the area.  I would highly suggest you do the same!  A lot of places to eat will give you something free the first time you sign up, be sure to space it out since they have expiration dates.  Took advantage of another favorite today.  Ulta's 20% your entire purchase.  I know I know that's not that great but if you didn't know that you can use manufacturers coupons with that 20% off it becomes an amazing deal!  Stocked up on some of the things I needed today : )  

I wanted to show you my latest Target finds!  If you haven't been to Target recently go now cause the clearance is AWESOME!!!  Found this dress a while back, actually bought it full price ($25) but couldn't bear to pay that much so I returned it ... found it last night for $12!  Also found the shoes to the left  for $2.66!!!!!!!!  Perfect Christmas gift for one of my friends (hopefully they fit) They're an online buy for $10.48, which for heels is still a fabulous deal!  Got so many other good deals but don't want to share too much since they're Christmas presents. 

Now for my most recent addiction that is the best deal ... FREE!!  


101 in 1001!

So my very good friend Stephanie  has pressured me again.  I give into peer pressure way too easily don't I? : )  We've been inspired to start our own 101 in 1001 lists.  This past summer I had a summer bucket/to do list with one of my bffs, Jackie, so I already had a head start on a few of the items on my list.  I think we should start it up ASAP!  What do you think?  Also I have a couple of items that aren't very specific but I know I want to do something (see #22 & #69 for sure).  Suggestions welcome!

1.                  Find a full time job!
2.                  Recruit one consultant
3.                  Learn to use RaisersEdge
4.                  Organize my Pampered Chef business
5.                  Take a library cataloging class
6.                  Submit at least two job applications each day for a month
7.                  Write a professional article

8.                  Get 100 followers on my blog
9.                  Fix my blog layout
10.              Blog 3 times a week for 4 months
11.              Blog 5 times a week for 3 months
12.              Make $1 (at least) from my blog

13.              Visit Kevin's uncle in Dallas
14.              Travel further west than Nebraska!
15.              Visit Disney World again
16.              Go to Hawaii
17.              Purchase Disney Vacation Club points
18.              Visit Becky where ever she is living
19.              Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
20.              Take the Amtrak somewhere
21.              Take a day trip (or weekend) to a nearby city (Milwaukee, Madison, Indy?)

Source: via Katie on Pinterest

22.                Scrapbook ... use all my supplies?  Make a book for myself?
23.                Make 1 DIY craft from pinterest every other month for a year
24.                Make a small window box herb garden
25.                Send out Christmas cards

26.                 Use the crock pot once a week for 4 months
27.                 Take a cooking class
28.                 Make 1 recipe from each of my cookbooks and cooking magazines
29.                 Try absinthe 
30.                 Try Sushi
31.                 Make 3 different ice creams using our maker
32.                 Make homemade pasta
33.                 Make a meat, chocolate and cheese fondue with our new fondue pot
34.                 Plan at least two meals a week for a month
35.                 Make 5 freezer meals a month for three months (doesn't have to be consecutive!)
36.                 Make my mom's/grandfather's meatballs and sauce (from scratch) recipe on my own
37.                 Try an ethnic food I haven't before
38.                 Try 5 fruits & 5 vegetables I've never eaten before
39.                 Attend high tea
40.                 Eat 3 famous Chicago food products

41.                 Organize my recipes (saved emails, links and physical ones)
42.                 Digitize all of my hard copy photos, organize them, and back them up
43.                 Digitize all of the photos from my grandma, organize them (archivally), and back them up
44.                 Pack up the stuff that's at my parents that I want to keep
45.                 Make a birthday calendar (that can be used from year to year)
46.                 Develop a cleaning system and stick to it for an entire month straight 
47.                 Organize the files on my computer & hard drive (music, job apps, photos, etc.)
48.                 Organize personal Gmail account and achieve “Inbox Zero”

49.                 Take MORE dancing lessons as a couple
50.                 Take Hubby to a Bears game
51.                 Have a monthly [fancier] dinner date with my husband for 1 year
52.                 Play a board game with my husband once a week for three months 
53.                 Spend a whole day on the couch with the hubby watching movies
54.                 Spend a whole day playing video games with hubby
55.                 Go without eating out for a month
56.                 Go a month without getting annoyed with each other over stupid things

57.                 Work on my French again
58.                 Loose 10 lbs five times in a row
59.                 Watch 3 classic movies I have never seen
60.                 Walk 1 mile a day for 1 month
61.                 Learn and be able to use 100 Greek words/phrases
62.                 No spend month 
63.                 Learn how to braid my hair
64.                 Wear make up every day for a month
65.                 Give up chocolate for a week
66.                 Take belly dancing lessons in person
67.                 Take 1 different class each month at my gym for 6 months
68.                 Go to 3 programs at my local library a year
69.                 Student loans .... pay off X amount (need too look at how much is left)
70.                 Leave a $20 tip on a meal that's less than $20

71.                 Go to the Bristol Renaissance Festival
72.                 Attend a live taping of Judge Mathis
73.                 Send a video into AFV
74.                 Throw my first dinner party in our home.
75.                 Join and be active in two Meetup groups in my area
76.                 Take the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour
77.                 Attend the opera
78.                 Play Whirlyball again
79.                 Go back to Valpo for a basketball game once a year
80.                 Go back for Valpo Homecoming once
81.                 Find and join a trivia night group
82.                 Have a special girls day/night with my mom and sister-in-law once a month for a year
83.                 Host party for friends (they are all in the city makes things difficult!)
84.                 Have both of our parents over for dinner 3 times in a year
85.                 Get together with each friend who lives within 50 miles (we all keep saying we'll get together soon!)
86.                 See the Northern Lights
87.                 Hold an office in one of the Gamma Phi alumnae groups I'm active in
88.                 Catch a Northern Pike

89.                Sell our Condo!
90.                Find a new condo/house/apartment
91.                Find a new couch (and loveseat if we're able to afford it!)
92.                Own another piece of artwork
93.                Make/find a crescent (artwork, wall decor, something) for our home
94.                Kinda want a hedgehog ... or maybe a fish ...

95.                 Wear every item of clothing & jewelry I own at least once ... have already started this past summer! 
96.                 Finish reading every book I own
97.                 Find a good must read book list and read them all
98.                 Buy a new digital camera
99.                 Find 5 LPs of my favorite albums (includes going through dad's and seeing if he wants them anymore!)
100.             Put $5 into savings for every goal accomplished.
101.             Celebrate completing our 101 with Stephanie!


Wah wah Wednesday

So I've been trying to figure out how change up my comments section.  I know there is way to make it so I can just click reply under each persons name and reply to each comment.  If anyone has any advice that would be so helpful!  I want to make sure people see that I'm replying to their comments and not ignoring them.  

Today we pin!  First I have to say I'm super sad though, grocery shopping I totally broke one of my favorite necklaces.  Pretty sure I only got it for $2.99 on super clearance but its one of my go to long necklaces.  Since I just pulled the strand/chain part out I think it might be fixable so maybe I'll have to get my wedding rings cleaned see if my jeweler can help me!

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

This is an image of Tolo, Greece. Went here senior year of college during a classics course. This was our home base for the two weeks we were there.  One of the girls and I paddled out to the island, needless to say I was burnt after that.  There are no words for how amazing and beautiful Greece is!

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

So I know I've talked about her before but my BFF, unbiological twin Becky and I are huge Bill & Ted fans. There is a whole other blog post (probably even two!) out of that obsession. A few years ago the Shell station by my parents house was remodeled to have a Circle K store. So the first time Becky met my then boyfriend we made him take photos of us rocking out by the sign.

I would probably change a couple of these but I think that's such a fun idea!! Maybe add some more Disney and Star Wars references : )

How amazing does this look? Maybe someone will make it for my birthday this year ... just saying *cough cough Stephanie cough*  : D

I'm working on a museum post for later this week, I know I know I've been slacking off.  I've been trying to find my photos of some of the other places we've been to but I'm totally disorganized.  Yay for the 101 in 1001 list (more to come on that later too) to get me to do stuff like organize!   


Wishing it was Tuesday ....

I'm guessing everyone can second that sentiment today.  I'm looking out the window and it's the type of weather that makes you want to crawl back in bed followed by more dreary and rain this afternoon.  Yay for almost winter in Chicago!  That's also another Chicago staple ... sarcasm : )

So my weekend was pretty tame.  Friday I just got stuff done and hung out by myself that night.  I did end up getting my fabulous Harvest salad from Corner Bakery.  I cannot say how much I love that salad enough. Getting free bacon mac & cheese (also from CB) for lunch and having that salad for dinner was the best parts of my Friday haha.  

Hubby's Friday was more interesting.  He had an out of town show, about 3 hours south of Chicago.  Show itself was good but afterwards there was this guy (supposedly a Vancouver Kanuk but who knows!), he was drunk and went kinda nuts.  Punched a bartender, tossed a girl on the floor and threw a bar stool at the bartender again.  Crazy right?  

Saturday was more fun for me.  I worked a holiday vendor thing at the local mall for Pampered Chef.  It was actually a pretty good day for me.  I got information from two people who wanted to have shows!  Met up with the husband for dinner at Stir Crazy. If you are not in an area that has Stir Crazy you should go find one cause it's delicious! 

Sunday was tame.  I went to another mall in the area (darn you NY&Co and your 70% off clearance sale!) and ended up with information from two other people who want to host Pampered Chef shows!!!  Yay!  Thank goodness for shopping addiction right?  Then a nice dinner with Kevin's parents.  I had a nice relaxing weekend but he's still recovering from three late late night shows unfortunately. 



Best of intentions

Well I had the very best of intentions to sit down and write yesterday.  I went to my parents to do laundry and run errands, well all that time was taken up by the errands.  I was not prepared for the 20 minutes it took to check out at Old Navy!  They've become stricter about their day late pay off and my payment didn't go through.  40% off and using all my rewards was totally worth it though : )  

I know I missed Pinteresting day so here I am a day late and hopefully not a dollar short!!  Now my blog is being a punk and not letting me embed the pinterest links ahhh!!!! Having issues today.

Crock-pot Lasanga
I feel like I should be able to cook something like this.  Although without the onions chunks in the meat! I'm trying to use our Crockpot more so I think next week I will give this recipe a go and I'll let you know. 

AC/DC is one of my all time favorite bands.  I'm going to have to hunt these down!  Here is an article relating to the wines.  Doesn't tell me who is actually going to carry them though : (

Now I just have to find an extra wedding invitation of ours and we're all set!

Every time ... mind blown!


Just once, I would like to wake up, turn on the news, and hear...'Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep.'

Hello everyone!  Hope you had lovely weekends.  Mine was actually pretty good, spent it with the parents since the husband was up in Wisconsin with his dad.

Friday night my parents and I went to Drury Lane Oakbrook (they do fabulous musical theater there) for Xanadu.  Yup the 1980 Oliva Newton John Xanadu.  While I have yet to see that version, on hold for it at the library, I'm guessing that the Drury Lane version was spoofing the original version a bit which led to hilariousness!  Here are a couple of photos I pulled from the website.  If you are in the Chicagoland area I really suggest you go see it.  I think I was laughing 80% of the time!

Saturday was pretty tame.  Ran a bunch of errands and tried to pack up a little bit more of the stuff I want to keep but store at my parents stuff.  Ran tons of errands for the parents and myself, church, dinner, and bed.  Yup I'm lame haha.

Sunday was more of the same just hanging out.  OH I did get to hang out with my doggie nephew.  That's him and I on a walk with my dad.  It ended up decent, Bowser didn't walk me toooo much!  It was interesting being around an 80 lb. dog for the weekend.  Let's just say he wasn't the one moving if you ran into him.

So today started off kinda meh.  Not bad but not really great, it is Monday after all.  Then I got a couple awesome emails! First from Nicholl of The Chiffon Diary.  I won a giveaway!  Know as you know since blogging I've become addicted, I've never had good luck with anything.  I enter so many (legit ones) online and never win.  WOOO!

I also just got an email from the Pampered Chef saying that I've reached $10,000 in sales!  For only doing about 1-3 shows a month this past year I'd say in one years time that's a pretty good total!

Check ya later!


Oriental Institute

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago is a research organization and museum devoted to the study of the ancient Near East. Waaaaay back in the summer of 2009 I was an intern in the archives, like most most archives positions it required much time logged in the basement!

I am trying to find my photos that I took during my internship but they seem to not be in the right folder. I will keep trying! I would definitely call this a hidden Chicago gem. There are so many neat ancient Near Eastern artifacts that you would never expect a museum in Chicago to have.

The Oriental was actually in 1919 by James Henry Breasted, who is said to have inspired the character of Indiana Jones. During my most recent visit during our HA ladies weekend Lauren, who was also an intern there for quite a while was a very good tour guide. She was in the education department so it was her job to learn all about the subject matter!

The photo to the right is of probably one of the most important artifacts at the Oriental, the human-headed winged bull from Khorsabad (what is now present day Iraq). The bull, which stands sixteen feet tall, now is flanked by six ten-foot-tall stone reliefs that originally stood along with it on the throne room fa├žade in the palace of the Assyrian king Sargon II, who ruled from 721-705 B.C.

If I was smart I would have gotten a photo from the beginning of the hall, you turn a corner and it's just at the end of the gallery looking massive and imperial. I can just imagine what the rest of the palace looked like! This picture includes the four of us, we also took one looking up at it inquisitively : )

This photo is of the artifact that I liked the most. Thinking about it for some reason I'm really drawn to lions in ancient artifacts, these guys, the Lions Gate at Mycenae (look it up it's awesome or stay tuned and I'll share my images from that amazing trip!). These lions (there are two that flank the gallery right before the bull) are amazing because, as you can see, they still have their original coloring to them.

These are just two of the thousands of amazing artifacts that the Oriental Institute contains! I would say it's a definite visit on maybe your second Chicago trip. Being in Hyde Park it's a hike to get there from the Loop, especially if you're not familiar with the transit system. The price is a suggested donation and there is a fabulous small gift shop with some beautiful ancient design inspired jewelry! If you can't make it there be sure to check out the website for the wealth of knowledge this hidden gem of a museum supplies!


Do the Humpty Hump, come on and do the Humpty Hump

As you can see by the title I'm excited it's hump day!  Like always I'm ready for the weekend and I'm excited for this one!  But before then we still have 2.5 days till we get there so in the mean time a couple of recipes made by yours truly!  

I actually made this guy a couple weeks ago now and didn't end up sharing it then.  I ended up using Shrimp Scampi recipe from Betty Crocker.  I was good but a couple of the ingredients, the lemon and basil we couldn't taste at all.  So I kinda felt like I could have just used another recipe that's just parsley, garlic, Olive oil and pasta.  I've made that many times and added the shrimp.  They both taste the same to me but were still good!
So Monday my husband and I put tilapia fillets in the fridge to thaw with the full intention of panko breading them like we usually do.  Well low and behold I get a super simple recipe in my inbox that day for Tilapia With Pecan Brown Butter!  Why not?  We like butter, pecans and have pretty much all the ingredients even the wild rice!  This recipe ended up being very simple to make even though I had 3 pots and the microwave going.  I would definitely make it again, hubby devoured it.  It's a bit fancier than we go on a week night but so easy!

Yesterday I FINALLY got my hair cut.  Last cut was June and I would have gone a month earlier but my stylist (my cousin Dakota!) was in Europe last month with her mom!  Her salon, Twisted Scissors in Logan Square, is not exactly on my way to either of my jobs.  I can get about two miles east at one of the train stops but then I have to hoof and bus it a bit.

The left photo below is before right is from this morning.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera to take a photo right after.   I headed to the Field Museum after the cut and had about a mile walk into the wind to get from the Roosevelt "L" stop to the Field!  There is a reason they call it the Windy City!  So the cute almost 60's teased vibe I had going did not last very long unfortunately : (  The real test will be the first time I end up styling it on my own.

Happy Hump Day!  Catch you Friday!


Weekend Update!

Alright I apologize now cause it might be a long one what with the weekend and the couple of giveaways I found and want to share : )


Had Stephanie's Pampered Chef party!  It was so much fun.  I did a new format, all simple appetizers and tasted the Margarita Itty Bitty Bev and everything was delicious.  Realized this morning when I was starting to write today's post that we didn't take any photos!  I wanted to make sure I got some of me in action so I could post them here and on my website, darn!  Well I might just have to fake it in my own kitchen to get some shots.  Also wanted to share that the Pampered Chef Giveaway is still going on.  If you place an order (to get more entries too!) as part of Stephanie's show I will give you a FREE fall product as part of your order.

After the show and one ridiculous cab ride (5 people in the backseat) we headed to Cubby Bear in Wrigleyville for my husband's show.  Check out their facebook and website, 'Stache, he's the cute bassist.  Not much more to say that can't be said with photos!


Was spent getting ready to head to Peoria, IL for another 'Stache show.  Hubby and I had lunch at Corner Bakery before we left.  Only reason I mention this is because I am obsessed with one of their salads, the Harvest Salad with chicken.  I have literally been eating one a week since I tried it way back in August (thank you Field Museum CB!) Go try one now!  

We met up with Kevin's parents, his brother & wife, Becky (who live by Peoria) and her mother at the show.  We all had a fabulous time and drinks were so darn cheap that even I could get a round of shots for us!  Becky's mom is a hoot, she's pint sized crazy fun with a camera out always. Saturday did not end well for me at all unfortunately.   Had some issues with a friend.  I probably should have known better and just stayed out of it and he shouldn't have reacted to me the way he did (yelling and walking away instead of talking to me).  I'm a crier so of course I'm crying after that, till 3am then some of Sunday.  Once I start I can't stop!


Low key day.  We were coming home most of the day.  Stopped in Dwight, IL.  My husband works for a sign company and one of his projects was in Dwight so we stopped and took this photo of him.  Felt like the dorky mom so proud and taking a photo haha.  

Other than that we did laundry, more cleaning and organizing of our condo.   Our condo is a whole other post ... 1 bedroom space for two people, one with a bass habit the other with a Pampered Chef habit!  

Happy Monday!


Pampered Chef

I mentioned this before ... somewhere ... in my little about me blurb maybe?  I am a Pampered Chef consultant!  I still a newbie of a little over a year now, seems I've been doing a lot of new things in the past year!!!

I've always really loved Pampered Chef products ... knew I was an adult when that happened.  I toyed with the idea of becoming a consultant for probably almost two years.  Now you must know having a degree and being in a field where you do a lot of research and ask a lot of questions all I have to is my poor director.  We must have met up for tea (I don't drink coffee so I always have tea) probably almost 20 times.  Each meeting was probably an hour long discussion and Q&A.

I finally decided that you know what screw it!  I'll just jump in and go for it.  You can ask all the questions and think of all the outcomes you want but you just don't know what's going to happen till you go for it.  It has turned out amazing so far.  I am not down the career path at the moment so I do my two shows a month, get my awesome bonus.  The picture at the right is my faaaavorite bonus I earned, I use that lunch tote all the time.  

I am super excited/nervous for tomorrow evening.  My good friend Stephanie of Bourbon and Glitter is hosting a show with me.  She lives downtown so that means I have to pack for a train ride, which means no everything and the kitchen sink!  What can I say I love the products so I love to bring them all to show.  Also I am trying a new appetizer format so I'm nervous about that too!!!  Be sure to check out her Pampered Chef giveaway right now.  She is giving away one of my favorite items!

Favorite PC products of the week!

Crispy bacon from the MICROWAVE in minutes? OH YES it's possible with the Small Ridged Baker.  Win it!

New cult favorite! Make mini meatloaves, little cakes, killer brownies and anything else your mind can come up with in the Brownie Pan.

This is an all time favorite of mine. Mix 'N Chop ... you'll love it!