Musings of a Museum Fanatic: January 2013


Modge Podge Crescent Moon

First of OH EMMMM GEEEE I have a follow up to my triple digits post last week.  I had three days in a row this week where people actually reading hit triple digits.  Yay!  Thanks everyone for reading, now to get y'all to comment more ... just saying ; )

Even though Kevin lots his job this weekend the entire weekend wasn't super terrible (although a nail to my back tire didn't help!)  Saturday I ended up finally just sitting down and busting out my good friend Stephanie's (other Stephanie) Christmas present.  Yes I know I'm a month late.  My entire reason for putting it off so long was Modge Podge.  I had never used it before and was kinda freaking out inside. 
Needless to say I didn't want to mess it up.  I forgot to mention that this was an idea I had and not something I found on Pinterest so I was totally winging it!

Stephanie and I met each other through Kevin and found out a few months into our friendship that we are Gamma Phi Beta sisters as well.  Since then it's been a fabulous friendship.  I wanted to do something Gamma Phi related but being an alum there isn't too much that doesn't look super collegiate and cliche.  

So here is what I did ... heck if it was right but it worked out well.
I had a nice photo of all my supplies but I cannot locate it anymore, doh! 
Canvas (I think mine was like an 14x18)
Tissue paper (cut up in to squares)
Modge Podge
Foam brush

 I sat there for at least a good five minutes trying to figure out how I was going to free hand a crescent moon.  It then occurred to me I had my lovely Stainless Mesh Colanders!  Let the tracing begin.  

Then to start with all lovely Modge Podging.  After first I put down a layer of Modge Podge then tissue then more Modge Podge.  I had seen it done that way for photos people were Modge Podging so thought that was a good way to start.  I realized maybe like a quarter of the way through I didn't really need to do that much since the tissue paper was so thin.  Didn't hurt it to do that much but didn't really matter that I did that much either.

Just keep Modge Podging and adding tissue paper.  The difficult part was around the crescent itself.  I had to cut up little pieces of tissue paper.  I just chopped up the squares to make random little shapes.  Then I used those guys randomly to make the outline of the crescent.

Lastly was adding the hot pink inside the crescent.  I actually did the same thing inside as I did for the outline.  I wanted the pink part to be very vivid so I did the smaller pieces so they would overlap more and give it a darker, brighter color.

and voila!!!

I totally triumphed over Modge Podge and I'll be making another for my own home very soon (yesss for crossing off another of my 101!)


Here I Go Again ...

So Friday ... I'll start from the beginning of the morning since all the "fun" started early. 6:30 am could not go back to sleep thanks to the upstairs neighbors making loud noises. They make a lot of noise most of the time it's very annoying. 8am start to attempt submitting of online application. Thank you Village of X for not knowing how to make out a fillable PDF that's great. Of course the lines are never big enough. 11am finally get application submitted after scanning documents three times and attempting to make PDFs three times. It was a big mess but it's in and hopefully I'll get an interview.

1:30pm Kevin walks in the door ... ummm what? Did he leave something that he needed. He says there is only one reason I'd be home right now and it dawns on me and I just start completely bawling my eyes out.

Kevin lost his job Friday.

It's not because he sucked at his job or anything like that ... in fact he was really really good at his job and his boss was so upset about having to let him go we found our he broke down after Kevin left. They just couldn't afford to keep him with so little projects for this next year. So there I am in the middle of our living room bawling my freaking eyes out with so many thoughts just running through my head. This is not our first rodeo, we've been through this before.

For most of 2011 Kevin was trying to find permanent work and ended up working a couple positions for a few months but the same thing they didn't end up having the money. Why they hired him in the first place if they knew they didn't have the money I don't get but whatever. So here we go again, Kevin unemployed I'm still under employed but this time it's more difficult since we're actually married and living under the same roof. He is not sitting down though, Friday unemployment was filed and he sent in 9 applications over the weekend.

Unfortunately this means cutting back and we know how much I love shopping (even if it's super cheap I gotta cut back!). This also means I can't end up sponsoring more of you lovelies like I wanted to this spring. For now that means I will just have to stalk every ad space giveaway and free ad space everyone is doing like a fat kid who smells cake (or ice cream in my case!)

"Here I Go Again" by Whitesnake is one of my all time favorite songs and at the start of the song it's kinda sad cause you're still searching for an answer and can't ever seem to find what you're looking for. When the big drum crash and guitar part happens though it's such a "I'm going to do it and you can't stop me world!". It always gets me going and the best part of it is I don't have to walk down the road by myself.

Not only do we have our friends and family here but I have all of you guys and have already felt the love : )

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!


Friday Letters

Dear Friday January 25, 2013 ... I really really hate you and wish you had not happened.  Will talk more about it when I can next week. 


Sweet Potatoes in the Round Covered Baker

I've loved Pampered Chef products for a long time but one of their most popular lines I've only recently become a fan of and that's their Stoneware.  The whole stone sometimes can scratch it like nails on a chalkboard thing always freaked me out.  Man I was sooo missing out and didn't even know it!
I'm a convert now and want to tell you about my new favorite piece ... the Round Covered Baker.  This little guy is amazing.  If you've ever used the Deep Covered Baker and loved it, you will go gaga for this guy.  It's perfect for my husband and I since it's still just the two of us but even if you have more than 1-2 in your family this guy would be awesome for side dishes and smaller desserts.  

One of my favorite things to cook in it are potatoes or if you're like us and trying to eat healthy, sweet potatoes.  The best part is it only takes 15 minutes in the microwave!  I know right?  

The whole thing was four easy steps:
1. Cut potatoes lengthwise and put them into the Round Covered Baker
2.  Add a little water (to help steam them) then cover.
3. Microwave the potatoes for 15 minutes (times will vary for each microwave).  Halfway through move the two in the middle to the outside.
4. Enjoy!

Our potatoes came out perfectly cooked last night they were delicious and soft mmm!  Another of my favorite things about this little guy is that anything the Deep Covered Baker can do this can do smaller.  Like the Loaded Baked Potato Chowder (one of my favorites) or Microwave Rocky Road Brownie Dessert ... yeah it's a brownie in the microwave and it's to die for,  my mouth is watering as I think about it seriously. 


Triple Digits

I have been so excited about this fact for a little while now but have totally forgotten to share it with everyone!

I hit triple digits on views in one day!

I have also been having view numbers close to triple digits for most of the last couple of weeks consistently!  I know it doesn't get as much play as how many followers people have but I feel like that's almost more important since it shows not only are most of my followers following but they're reading as well!  

Now my next goal is to get over 10 comments on a single post : )  Keep them coming guys!!!

What was your last milestone for your blog?


Continuing the awesome!

I feel awesome!

This weekend and today I've been a beast about taking care of my new year resolutions!  This weekend Kevin and I got a good chunk of items out of our storage room.  Our (mainly my) plan is clear out the items we don't use regularly, yay for storage at our parents, and move stuff from the condo that we will need to access somewhat regularly into there.  Since neither of us is Suzy homemaker keeps everything in it's spot always keeping it clean when the time comes hopefully in the next year to sell we're going to need practice keeping it ready to show. 

I totally ended up planning all our meals this week without actually realizing it!  Tonight we're having grilled chicken probably flavored with one of my fabulous Pampered Chef rubs nom nom.  

I'm leaning towards the Smoky Barbecue Rub, since I just got it haven't tried it yet.  Tomorrow night I got these little meal things that include one pork chop and veggies or potatoes from Mariano's.  These bad boys are so nice all you have to do is pop them in the oven and make whatever else you want with them!  Thursday night I'll be making this. 

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

Doesn't that look delicious?

The biggest thing I feel great about accomplishing is getting my shopping under control.  I returned $86 worth of clothes today.  Not that I wouldn't eventually wear the items but they were really ones that I just didn't need either for wearing personally or for work.  I'm sure the lady at NY&Co wasn't appreciative of the 6 items I returned but I felt really good about it.  

While I was out doing this and talking to my friend the entire time we decided we're going to go a few months without superfluous spending.  We were talking April but for now we're going to take it a month (maybe even two weeks) at a time so we don't feel overwhelmed.  If we have giftcards that's ok cause that's free money but other than that no spending!

We already decided on our rewards, cause it's just so much more fun when you have something to work for right?  She's going to get a couple really nice sundresses for her trip to the Dominican Republic.  I decided more Pampered Chef stuff will be my reward.  Each season consultants are able to purchase kit enhancements, which are a la carte or difference packages of the new products.  I usually only get a couple small things but this time if I do well I will go for a bigger package.  

How are your new years resolutions going this week?  

Here are the five things I'm going to work on to continue my awesomeness this week.
1.  Organize our new office bookshelf for all our office supplies
2.  Write the two Liebster awards post
3.  Write one wedding post. 
4.  Workout Wednesday, Friday and Saturday mornings
5.  Add 6 items to my closet app every night




I finally got a VoxBox through Influenster!!!  I'm sure if you've been around for a little bit you've seen all different kinds of VoxBoxes popping up.  I got a Palmolive one!

I got three different scents from their new line, Fresh Infusions.  

Lemon Thyme
Lime Basil
Ginger White Tea

I've already tried the first two.  I really enjoy the Lemon Thyme scent the best.  Most of the time I tend to go towards the citrus-y scents, I think it's such a clean smell.  

The Lime Basil was also lovely but I'm still not entirely sure about the Ginger White Tea.  I haven't gotten a chance to actually use it yet (I have a sink full of dishes waiting for it in a little bit though!) and they seem to have a fuller smell when you get it all sudsy and use them. 

One thing I'm not too fond of is that they're a thinner consistency than regular Palmolive.  I tend to thin it out a little bit so I'm not wasting big goops of it on every dish, I did add a little water to thin it out.  Overall it worked just as well as normal Palmolive too.  I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a better cleaning formula since the tag line says "Sparkling Clean".  Just checked my other bottle of Palmolive and that is not the tag line for that one so I will have to further study these to see if there really is a more sparkling clean to the Fresh Infusions!  

If you want to try them for yourselves head to Walmart or if you want a chance to join Influenster and review great products and services check it out.  I can send invites out to people if you're interested let me know!  I can't wait to get my next VoxBox!

Happy Friday!



Never Will I Ever (Pinterest Version)

I had great intentions of writing a lovely post for y'all yesterday but by the time I got back mid-afternoon I just didn't have the will or brain power.  I think my interview went well (but I've given up on them actually being good a this point) so we shall see what happens.  Thanks to everyone for their comments, good lucks and happy thoughts ... maybe now that I've got all you guys rooting for me it will tip the scales : )

Today I decided to share my probably (most likely) Never Will I Ever actually make or DIY this from my Pinterest boards:

Now I'm usually not one for mixing odd things together in a new way but this guy just looked so good to me. The reason this guy will probably forever stay a pin is I'm just terrible at planning. We usually have a couple of the ingredients but not all, we're still more of a throw things together type cookers.

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

I'm not the fabric person in my family, that honor goes to my mom. For some reason sewing and the like tend to freak me out. I can stitch and do basics but I always feel like I'm going to rip it or something.

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

If you've ever glanced at my Appe-Teasers board you'd notice pretty fast I seem to go for items that are wrapped, pouches or neat little package type food. I think I like them cause it's so nice a compact, not much mess. Well I've never actually made any wrapped, pouches or neat little package type food ... I feel like it takes some skill to make sure the wonton is closed so it won't explode when you're cooking.

I am terrible at styling my hair. My routine consists of either blow drying and straightening or leaving it air dry to wavy the first day and on the second doing some sort of super simple half up do. I can get a little fancy and give myself a bump (see my It's OK post). I'd love to learn how to style my hair more just don't know if I have the skills. I mean it did take me until like two years ago to get a good black smokey eye thing going.

Source: via Betsy on Pinterest

Meringues are not for the faint of heart. I personally think they're one of the harder desserts since you have to beat the whites just right and let them sit for so long, sometimes double baking and stuff. That's a lot of pressure!

As cool as I think that looks there is definitely a TON of work that went into that. For one those vinyls are hard to put up, plus the person had to locate each of those separately it would just be too easy if it all came together. Then leveling all the photos and hanging them just right. Would you put the vinyls up first? But if you did how would you do the spacing? Yup a lot of work to that one. 

 What are some of your favorite pins that you probably won't get around to this century?


I have the best sister in law

Mondays are not my day.  This morning when de-icing my car I sorta broke one of my doors.  Could not get it shut so Kevin had to come out and bungee cord it shut so I could go to the car place.  Realize a little while later I didn't have my wallet with me oops!  Kevin to the rescue again.  Although he wasn't very happy about being almost to work when I called!  Car is still at the shop, and I'm now at work. 

Unfortunately my weekend wasn't all that exciting so I'm going a different route today.  I did go out to Kevin's show Saturday and my brother and sister in law came out!  Hence the reason for this post

That's a picture of us decorating cookies in December.   I decided I really needed to dedicate a post to how awesome my sister in law Bethany is!  Obviously from this photo we are off to a good start right?  I first "met" Bethany about 9.5 years ago when my brother and I were driving home from my grandma's house and he shoved the phone at me to talk to her while he was trying to get something in the back.  Up to this point there had never really been any friends who were girls much less one Lou had dated (that we knew of). SO I was like whaaaat?!  Who is this?! What's going on!? Very odd first conversation to say the least. 

So they date for a few years and then got hitched!  It was fabulous.  Bethany loves ginormous sunglasses (she has 12 pairs), I took that photo and we decided that it was probably the best one from the wedding : )  Not too long after they moved down to Greenville, South Carolina.  Which was sad since we didn't get to see them much but neat to visit South Carolina in the winter.  This spring (right before our wedding) they moved back to the area yay!  

Now let me actually tell you a little bit about Bethany besides the fact that she's as cute as a button!  She grew up a couple different places cause her dad worked for GM, I also love her parents they're awesome when they moved up here her mom had their house unpacked and up and looking nice in like 4 days, when we move next I'm inviting her up!  She went to Tennessee and is a ridiculous big Vols fan.  She has been in retail management for a long time now and its ridiculously good at it.  We went shopping last week and she was picking out some stuff for me to try on and it actually looked like an outfit and so nice and put together.  I should probably get a computer program a la Cher in Clueless so she can dress me every day.  

One of my favorite things about our relationship is how close we've become over the past couple of years.  Nothing has been more evident of that (to me at least) is the fact that over the holidays I'm pretty sure we communicated solely in weird noises, chirps, pokes and odd looks. Yet we totally knew what the other was thinking/talking about and cracked each other up the entire time.  

Yes we are utterly ridiculous and I love it.  I might not have had a sister growing up but I definitely feel like I have one now.  Two silly little peas in a lovely little sister in law pod. 

 P.S. - More to come on these fabulous ladies later and yes there is a reason we are all friends haha.



High Fives are the best when FREE!

High fives all around for me this week!  It was actually quite a good week for me : )

1) I was crazy productive this week.  Getting more done on my 101 list, nothing done yet but some of the more time consuming items I'm halfway done.  I submitted a ton of job applications.  Didn't get as much done on my blog as I would have liked.  My "About Me" page is still blank ... I'm terrible at writing things like that about myself!

2)  Sending in all those applications has payed off already.  I have an interview next week for a part time position that would be awesome for me.  Keep your fingers crossed for me : )

3)  Logging onto Blogger and seeing my face.  Didn't realize my guest spot over at Designs by Emily F was going up yet.  But there I was all smiley in my reader this morning. 

4)  Our condo is slowly gaining some order.  Every day we are item by item figuring out we really don't need to have like the gravy boat here and can pack it up since we won't be hosting anyone to use it!

5) That my first giveaway is over and was a lovely success.  Winner will be announced Monday since I seem to be having some Rafflecopter issues at the moment ha!  I might not have a winner yet but I do have a freebie.  Since I started up my own ad space I decided to do a free for all.  Just put "I <3Museums" in for any space : )

Hope you had a lovely week and a ridiculous weekend!  


It's OK!

It's totally ok ....

...that I just now realized I had the best pair of earrings to go with the necklace I wore for NYE

...that I sat in bed till noon yesterday because I was so darn productive ... 4 job apps & 5 networking emails in bed with my pjs still on.

...that I'm either quite sore from the level 1 workout on the "30 Day Shred" or from hanky panky with the hubby yesterday

...that while I'm very excited to get my first Infleunster box I am a tad disappointed it's dish soap and not the awesome beauty products everyone else has been getting. be ready for the weekend on Tuesdays

...that on days I work I sometimes roll out of bed 30 minutes before I leave for work and don't care since I don't work with anyone under the age of 55 and most are at least 70. 

...that I still can't help but look at new apartments or condos when we are nowhere near ready to sell or able to get a new place

...that I am very very slowly getting more organized and I'm totally in love with my boot shapers ... you can't see them but look how nicely they make all my boots stand up : )


Morton Aboretum

It just occurred to me this morning that I haven't told you about the Morton Arboretum, another institution that takes up a lot of space on my resume!

The Morton Arboretum is a "tree museum" (my term haha) 26 miles outside of downtown Chicago in my old stomping grounds, Lisle, IL.  The Arboretum has so much going on you could probably make an entire weekend out of your visit.  

The main attraction is being able to hike, bike or drive the beautiful grounds.  There are 16 miles of walking trails, most of which are wood chip but there are paved trails for those with strollers, wheelchairs or other needs.  If you would prefer to move a little faster there are almost 7 miles of roads which one can run, bike or drive on.  

One of my favorite trails is right by the visitor center and extremely easy to navigate since it is a paved trail, the trail around Meadow Lake and the Conifer Trail.  Both of these trails are lovely any time of the year.  The Conifer Trail takes you around the Children's Garden.  Even if you do not have children go and just take a walk around the garden while you're there.  There are huge flowers, streams, forts and many other nature inspired things for children to play with an on.  This is a pic of me and my niece in-in law (my sister in law's niece lol) Zoe on their visit a couple of years ago.

Another of my favorite things is the Maze Garden.  Every now and then the staff will change the layout by opening and closing the gates so you don't get too cocky about being able to solve it right away!  When you find your way to the middle you can climb the stairs to the lookout and get this lovely view over part of the eastside.    I would definitely call the Maze Garden a must see!  

One thing the Arboretum has started the past few years is having large scale installations throughout the property.  My favorite was a few years ago called "Steel Roots" the artist made these large scale sculptures that looked like roots, three of them were actually cast from roots in bronze.

I could go on and on about the Arboretum but I'll wait and save it for another post!  The fees are definitely very reasonable $12 for adults and $9 for children 2-17 (Wednesdays are discounted days!)  This gives you access to everything for the entire days!  The closing hours to vary with each season, closing at about sunset.  Unfortunately there is no public transportation close by but being right off two different highways (with very cool views of the property from each) it is very simple to get to.  For sure worth the day trip into the burbs!