Musings of a Museum Fanatic: December 2012


Looking back & ahead

So to say that most of this weekend was exciting would probably be an understatement!  Friday was a mini road trip day for myself, my BFF Becky and my good friend Meghan from Valpo.  

It started off with a bang ... or a skid?  Exiting on the exit ramp to meet up with Meghan (see my lovely map above) the snow had finally started to stick and I was still going a little too fast.  My lovely oh so light car started to fish tale then proceeded to pull an entire 360 ending up with me bawling my eyes out on the side of the road.

One hour, one cop and one tow truck later I'm on the road and we are headed to Kalamazoo, MI!  The day was so much fun.  We got lunch a brewery, went to the local museum (details to come later in the week) and caught a movie.

Saturday was another Cubby Bear show and tons of fun!  We (meaning me since I never get ridiculous) got a little ridiculous since we had a little pre-party/gossip session in the ladies room before the guys started.  My friend Michelle was out to celebrate her birthday so all around it was a fabulous night.  

Now it's time for my Five for 2013 resolutions!

1. Hit 500 followers ... pretty self explanatory right : )
2.  Track what I eat ... I used to be on Weight Watchers but since I cannot afford it I had to stop a couple years ago.  I know if I watch my portions and eat well it is very successful for me so I need to get on that again!
3. Complete 40% of my 101 in 1001 list ... since 1001 days is about 2.75 years I figure if I do a decent chunk each year I can complete my list!
4. Get a full time job!  I need to work harder at my networking and with getting applications in as soon as I come across a posting. 
5.  Meal plan and cook more ... Kevin and I are terrible about planning we always leave it more till last minute.  This would definitely help with the loosing weight and tracking easier too!


Christmas & an Easy Peasy Recipe

WHEW!  Made it through Christmas.  We had a lovely two day Christmas at both our parents houses.  Thank goodness for two day holidays!  Christmas eve was tons of fun with my parents, brother and sister-in-law.  Early church followed by munchies and games.  We ended up having almost a two hour round of UNO.  Yes one single round.  It was the most ridiculous thing ever ... by the end there was some massive cheating going on in an attempt to end it, but that didn't even help!

Christmas day Kevin's dad made a little brunch for us then we headed over to his grandmother's house for dinner.  Kevin's Uncle Mike was in from Dallas and his Uncle Steve was there as well.  Uncle Mike mad killer pork tenderloin.  I've make pork tenderloin pretty much the same way he did and mine did not turn out as delicious ... I guess I need more practice.  

I did provide the best appetizer of the weekend though!  

from Betty Crocker

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
Yellow or green bell pepper
piece (2 inches) green onion
1/4 cup Old El Paso® Thick 'n Chunky salsa
1/4 cup apricot preserves or orange marmalade
tsp chopped fresh cilantro
Assorted tortilla chips, crackers or sliced vegetables, if desired

*** I ended up using 1/3 cup of each and poured more on as the cheese got used up.  I like a more even cheese to sauce ratio.  

1. Cut block of cream cheese diagonally in half; arrange on serving plate with shallow rim to form triangle.

2. Cut star out of bell pepper with star-shaped cookie cutter; place at top of tree. Place green onion piece at base of tree.

3. Mix salsa and preserves; spoon over cream cheese. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips.

How freaking cute does that look?!  I finally got to use my new Shimmering Glass Round Platter and the photo doesn't do how the whole thing looked on the platter justice It was delicious with all different types of crackers too.  I'm guessing you could just use the block of cream cheese without making it a tree shape to use it all year round.  

Check out my sponsor page too I finally got it up and running!!!  


Hodge Podge Weekend

It doesn't feel like the weekend is over since I'm off till January 3.   Yay for being able to just hang out and watch terrible Netflix instant movies for a week : )  Although they have put a bunch of Disney movies online so I'll probably be watching those. 

This weekend was lovely.  Friday night Kevin and I went into the city for a surprise birthday get together for our good friend Kelli.  She was so surprised she almost started crying, thought everyone was out of town and ditching her on her birthday ha.  I totally brought my camera to take more pictures but I failed!  

Saturday Kevin and I headed down south to Peoria, IL.  We met up with Kevin's brother and his wife along with Kevin's aunt, cousin and his grandma for lunch.  It was really nice to see and catch up with his grandma and aunt since neither were able to make it to our wedding.  Here is a group photo of everyone.  Not the best but it was taken with an older cell phone camera. 

Sunday was a nice casual day for me.  Kevin was off doing bass stuff for the afternoon and I was finishing up a present that I thought we had but didn't!  Luckily I think quick on my feet.  

My version!  I had a bunch of extras so I'm making an all red one too.  

Last Weeks Goals:
1. 10 more job applications
I got about 4 in then a cd got stuck in my computer so I took it to my brother to hopefully fix.  Since that has all my new coverletters and resume I kinda screwed myself on that one!  
2. Contact 3 people to try and network about job opportunities
I just full out failed on this one.
3. Spend two hours (not consecutively) working on organizing my music files
 I actually ended up just working on organizing my files in general but I'm still going to count it!
4. Write two posts about our wedding
I didn't write about our wedding but I did write a couple of posts for a special week long segment I'm going to do later!
5. Work on my blog layout!
New format and colors all around! Thanks to the lovely Miss Kelly over at Blart: the blog about art

This Week Goals:
1. 10 more job applications
2. Contact 3 people to try and network about job opportunities
3. Work on one of my 101 items
4. Write two posts about our wedding
5. Buy a larger bookcase and attempt to organize the PC corner of our condo

Check back later this week cause I think I figured out this whole rafflecopter thing and I'll be doing a giveaway to celebrate 100 plus followers!!!  Hope you all had a great weekend and will have a lovely holiday. 



This week has been crap!  

Now I know I always seem to be the upbeat girl and I always try to be that way but this week has been ridiculous.  The entire week wasn't utter crap but it seems like every day had multiple crappy things that have just added up to me being completely stressed out and upset. 

Today it was realized that we didn't have anything for one of Kevin's grandmothers.  Now I know at one point there was a really good idea cause this year I was baller and had great ideas for everyone.  At this moment I still cannot for the life of me remember what the heck my brilliant idea was.  Being a quick thinker I realized I could make a cute little ornament fast this weekend, it's one that's been popping up on pinterest lately so I'll be sure to share mine later this week!

So I have what I want to do but it's going to be quite time consuming this weekend.  Rejected from three jobs today.  The job area of my life has been super frustrating lately.  Don't get me wrong I am super grateful to actually have some work and to be paid well for it but I am definitely underemployed.  The thing that just really gets me down about my situation is that I've worked very hard the past four years in my field.  

I have had internships and been gaining experience from some of the best museums in the Chicagoland area. It's such a cliche but I am a hard worker and am good at what I do!  I do not get it.  

In addition to my job woes this week.  Today I found out that the library cd I have in my computer is stuck.  Took it to the Geek Squad and they would have to send it out cause they have to take apart almost the whole darn thing.  *SIGH*  Stick my hand back in my purse after this news, get stabbed under my fingernail with a staple.  

This is not my week.  I'm ready for Christmas and to not do anything but relax for two days.  But for now I will just enjoy making the husband go out for Portillo's : )


Shedd Aquarium


We're taking another trip back to the lovely Museum Campus today to visit the Shedd Aquarium! It is a fabulous world class aquarium with lots going on.  The biggest draw is probably the Aquatic Show.  Not only are there dolphins but belugas and penguins make appearances as well.  If you're lucky enough to get a front row seat sometimes you get up close and even personal with the penguins!  If you're able to get there during the holidays be sure to check out the special A Holiday Fantasea.

There is so much more to the Shedd than people realize though!  It takes you through the world's waters to visit the Amazon, the Caribbean, and so many others, you can even go under the water and visit the Wild Reef.  My favorite part is getting to see the itty bitty frogs.  There are some probably about the size a dime!  It's amazing how small and colorful they are.

The special exhibit Jellies is still around as well. I'm not going to lie I wasn't all that impressed.  We did go pretty early in the exhibit and it was quite difficult getting close enough to see much.  It was also static in my opinion, it was a porthole with jelly fish then another, then another.  I didn't find the exhibit very interesting after looking at the first couple of jellyfish.

There is also a new 4-D experience, featuring right now Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas 4-D.   I actually have not experienced the theater so I can't give my opinion one way or another.  Although I do really enjoy the Ice Age movies.  So I would probably check it out if I was there haha.  They do have other experiences that run year round as well, Dora & Diego's 4-D Adventure and Planet Earth.  

I really enjoy the Shedd but I don't think it's an absolute must see when you come to Chicago.  Maybe your second or third trip.  I feel that what you can see there (besides the killer architecture) you can see other places.  Also I am not a huge fan of the ticket pricing either.  Basic admission is great $8 per adult but that doesn't include any of the special things like the Aquatic show, the Wild Reef or some of the kids areas.  The tickets then range from $28-$50 depending on if you buy them online day of, before or at the Shedd, it's actually a bit confusing!  There are different kinds of discounts that you can receive throughout the year so if you are interested be sure to do your homework first!  

Hubby and I taking a photo on the frozen fountain outside of the Shedd


Missing the warm weather ...

This weekend Kevin and I, my brother and sister in law and my parents all went down to Houston, TX to visit my grandmother for her 90th birthday.  It was a lot of fun but tiring weekend, even though curfew was 9:30 ha! 
Here are the seven of us from the day of the party.  There was such a good amount of family and friends we were all very surprised!

Later that night we got into another heated game of Texas 42.  For his first time playing Kevin ended up being pretty good by the end of the trip.  As you can tell my great aunt Elma did not have that great of a hand!

Overall it was a pretty good weekend except for the three hour delay and wait at the airport.  It never storms in Texas but the one time it does we're there!

Last Week Goals:

1. Contact 5 people about hosting a Pampered Chef show this month/January
2.  Scan two whole rolls (envelopes with prints) of photos.
Got 1.5 done 
3. Get packed for Houston early in the week
Kevin failed on this one ha!
4. Write and send in the couple of guest posts I've got coming up.
5.  Get rebate stuff sorted out and sent in for our phones 

This Week Goals:
1. 10 more job applications
2. Contact 3 people to try and network about job opportunities
3. Spend two hours (not consecutively) working on organizing my music files
4. Write two posts about our wedding
5. Work on my blog layout!



It Arrived!!!

Kevin and I went over to his parents yesterday to pick up some of our packages and my order from Blue Bird Bride arrived!!!!!!!!!!

If you've been around the blog sphere for any amount of time you definitely know who Diane is.  It seems every week there is a giveaway for a credit to her shop or one of her necklaces.  I won a store credit probably waaaay back in October.  I love all of her pieces and I wish I had found her store earlier, when we were planning our wedding I had looked into broach bouquets and couldn't find anything I liked.  I find Diane and I love ones I've seen of hers, oh well such is life.  One will have to settle for super cute necklaces I guess!
So this guy is actually for my sister-in-law's birthday.  SHHHH!  Don't tell her I tried it on.  After trying it on I'm actually seriously bummed out I did not get this one.  Might have to just place another order ... 

This is the necklace I bought for NYE.  I have a dark navy shimmery dress.  I think it will go quite well, now to just pick out some earrings and we're good to go!

UGH  Obviously my husband is not a photographer.  We need to work on it lol.  

I almost got the necklace in this style ... will probably have to go back and get that one too haha. 

Just wanted to let everyone know that I will be out of town till Monday.  We're going to Texas to visit my grandmother, it's her 90th Birthday!!!  I usually try and do one of the fun Friday link ups but not this week.  I'll be up in the air tomorrow at this time.  

Also I am freaking out over here cause I am just shy of 100 followers!!! YAY!!!  I should probably start to figure out something fun for you guys ... maybe I should figure out how this whole rafflecopter thing works.  Fly by the seat of my pants and whatnot, you know the usual : )

I am salivating over here.  Neely at A Complete Waste of Make-up is giving away a killer package which includes an entire year of ad space!!!!  Congrats on three years Neely!

Kim at Singledou[b]t also has a killer one going on.  She is celebrating 500 followers yipee!

Now who wouldn't love $100 to spend at your favorite store?  Well head over to Tales of a Twenty-something because Allie has teamed up with a bunch of awesome ladies to give you just that.  If I win I'm totally going for the NY&Co giftcard : )


What I'm Loving ...

Pasta Edition!!!

I can tell I'm in hibernation mode lately.  All I want to do is stay home on our new couches all wrapped up in my fleece blanket watching movies and eating pasta.  My Pasta Pinterest board has been growing leaps and bounds because of this.  Here are some of the ones I will attempt to make some time in the near future (maybe the next year, that's near right?)

This recipes comes from Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour Blog.  Super easy but probably has quite a bit of calories, with two sauces and two cheeses.  The comments say it makes plenty of leftovers so if you portion it out right away then you won't over indulge and have room for some yummy garlic bread. 

Like most people I'm a big fan of compact and easy.  I keep seeing this pin and should really get on it and make it.  95% of the ingredients are common ones you should already have in your fridge or pantry.  If I ever get around to actually meal planning for a week this guy is definitely going on as a side to chicken. We're big chicken eaters and it's always hard to come up with sides to go with it more on the last minute so this would be great, the poster says you can really use any white cheese you like, so get creative!

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

I am not a fan of scallops.  I think it's a texture thing ... we all know my issues with texture haha.  For some reason a lot of my pins have had scallops in them lately.  I think my subconscious is saying I need to give them another chance and try to make them myself.  Or maybe all the photos of them just look that darn good ...

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

With all the over indulging one does this season this would be a good stick to your bones keep you full and satisfied recipe.  Between the beans, broccoli and using whole wheat pasta you probably couldn't  get a better power house pasta dish.  Adding some grilled chicken would give you even more protein to keep you full.  

Here is another dish I just feel so drawn to making.  Now almost anyone will tell I'm a big creature of habit, most restaraunts I go to I will get the same thing, I veer towards the same color clothing, I like to do things in my own little routine ... I like my eggs scrambled or hard boiled.  The whole over easy, poached with yolk still gooey kinda freaks me out ... ok freaks me out a lot.  I figure though if Martha says it's ok then I should be good ... plus how fancy scmancy does that dish look?  Husband will devour in like 5 minutes but oh well. 

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

Because I am easily amused : ) with ketchup?  How would pasta taste with ketchup I wonder ...

What's your favorite pasta?  Do you have a signature pasta dish you make?


View from my desks

One of the things I've been trying to do when I come to the city and the Field has been to observe more.  Try and find new things to notice every time I'm here.  It's been quite interesting so far!  I have more of that to come later but first I thought I'd share some of the neat things I see every time I'm here with you.

When I come into the Photo Archives in the morning I see this guy right away.  Yup a stuffed hawk just chilling in the office.  

When I head back to the second part of the office I round the corner into a hall/long office space smack dab into this wall.  I've never actually asked what it's from.  I'm assuming some sort of former exhibit?

I love looking at this blown up photo.  Yes that's a water pitcher in front of it.  This guy is actually over the fridge in the area containing the microwave.  I always like just staring at it while my leftovers heat up ... I imagine being in that line and what it would have been like to walk across that vast expanse of what's now the park.

This is the Field's copy of Audubon's The Birds of America.  If you don't know what it is seriously check out the link cause it's super cool and pretty important American history going on in this book.  Every week the pages are turned to a different painting every week.  There are a large number of staff who come in each week just to see what the new image is.  Sorry the photo isn't that great, best angle I could get because of the case.  Check it out online though his work is amazing!

Yes I know this is not from my desk I realize but it's such a cool view.  This is the view I get every time I walk through the park to the bus stop.  I go through the tunnel under Lake Shore Drive and I'm greeted by this!  I will definitely have to remember to take a picture this winter to share : )


Friday Letters

Dear Friday,  I am so happy you're here!

Dear Artistic Abilities, please show up today.  I know you're not really that great at your game but you always give 110% in the effort column.  I just need you to be a little more on point today.  Crafting abilities did their job last week it's your turn. 

Dear TBOX people, I know it's a great time and I'm excited too (mostly to see your drunk craziness at the end of the night) but could we try to keep the amount of beer spilled on my feet to a minimum, please thanks!

Dear Condo, I'm getting tired of you just leaving your stuff everywhere.  You really need to get your act together and clean up your mess.    

Dear Self, you've been really hard on me lately.  Give me a break and stop thinking everything is my fault.  Everything is bound to work itself out eventually, well hopefully sooner than eventually but who knows.   



Random much?

Going random style today with Shanna at Because Shanna Said So.  Probably one of my favorite things to look at online is the Humor section on Pinterest.  There are some ridiculously random things on their and I dying laughing every time.  Here are some of my favs from this week ... hope you get some giggles out of them too.  : )

It's just awesome.

Source: via Haley on Pinterest

This one might be photoshoped but still hilarious.

Source: via Sara on Pinterest

You know in your mind you just totally sang that ... or like me a very loud whisper at work!  I just can't not do it out loud

Yup just doing duck things in my fancy stemmed cup

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

Every. Single. Time.