Musings of a Museum Fanatic: July 2013


Brain Farts

It seems like it's just one of those days all around where everyone is having brain farts and has no ideas.  Or maybe I'm just the only one ...
This is pretty much how I've looked all day trying to think of something exciting to say ...  and I've still got nothing.  My brain is just super excited to head to Boston this weekend it doesn't want to think!  Plus it's Monday so can anyone really blame me?

I've been attempting lately to do cool photography things.  My most recent project is trying to make GIFs.  I haven't succeeded in that but I did make a cool video clip out of photos I took of Stache.  So since I have no brain today for anything here is something I had a brain for over the weekend : )


101 in 1001 monthly progress report {link up}

Yipee for new link ups!!  Since Stephanie and I have been working hard on our 101 in 1001 lists we thought it would be great to do a monthly check in.  I know for me keeping track of all the 101 goals can be kinda tough so this is the perfect time to look over the past month and see how well (or how much a slacker!) I've done.  Not just for 101 listers either, you've got a 30 before 30 join in, 20 in your twenties you're welcome, any sort of goal oriented listers welcome!

This Month
This month has been a little lean in the actually able to cross things off list.  I was able to cross off my Take the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour!!  So much fun.  I've been working on doing a lot of prep work for my more longer term goals.  I've been purchasing all sorts of DIY goodies, making recipe lists and trying to figure out fun events for Mother/daughter days.  I've also been working more on my digital organization skills.  It seems like I've been organizing my music files for a decade now but it will be done!!  

Today I was working hard on my scanning of all my print photos!  Here are a couple I did today.  

Me and my dad

Me being oh so 80's stylish

Next Month
I plan on actually crossing off FIVE items from at least three different sublists!  None of this crazy twenty like some people haha (kidding love you!).  I'm going to start it off right with pushing ahead with my music files and all my lovely photo scanning tonight.  

How are you doing on your list?  I can't wait to see : )



In continuing in my usual fashion I've been working very hard on my Inbox Zero 101 task.  Thanks to Stephanie today I discovered this thing called "All Mail".  From what I can gather it's any and every single interaction that you've ever had in Gmail.  It's any of the chats you haven't deleted or emails from all your labels/folders.  

I was paging through it and found some fantastic emails from the 2007-2009 era of my life but those I will be saving for another day.  Today I'm sharing this little gem I got on our one year anniversary.  

I know it's kinda small but yup that's telling me I should sign up for on our one year anniversary.  Let me state this right away I have no problem with anyone getting pregnant whenever they so choose cause that's your business!

Back to my little rant ... really one year interwebs and already you're telling me too that I should get prego and have babies?  Kevin and I are still trying to figure out how to live in a one bedroom condo with all of our own toys ... I don't think adding a third person's toys will help.  Plus I'm pretty sure that's why we have parents so they can bug us about having grandkids.  You couldn't have sent out an email for  I feel like sending out one for them wouldn't get so many people mad at you just saying.

I will let you know when I'm ready!  No more baby emails on anniversaries! 


Tunes on Tuesday: Jeremy

This past weekend one of the biggest 90's rock bands graced the Windy City with their presence.  Pearl Jam played Wrigley Field!  The tickets sold out pretty much right away and were going for 4k front row compliments of the scalpers.  With that being said obviously it was going to be a phenomenal time.  Before anyone gets excited, I did not have tickets but in true Wrigley Field fashion we enjoyed the show anyways!
Becky, Kevin and Britta enjoying the concert.  Yes we're standing in the street (with a few hundred of our closest friends)

Pearl Jam is one of those iconic 90's bands that whenever I hear their music I get all nostalgic.  Yup nostalgic for grade school!  My brother was in high school during the time when Pearl Jam was as their peak and they were one of his favorites.  Again I wanted to be just like my older brother so of course I would go into his room and borrow his CDs to listen to what he was listening to.  I still like to think that he had no idea I did that but I'm guessing he probably knew.  

Jeremy is just one of those songs that sounds like my childhood.  It's not that the song reminds me of any one particular memory.  When it plays I close my eyes and it's like a slideshow in my head of the greatest hits of 1992-1997.  I think everyone in the 90's was angsty no matter how happy you were, it was a requirement.  It was a perfect song for a middle school kid trying to figure out life!

Like most music videos I really only started watching them a few years ago on YouTube since we didn't have cable growing up.  I knew what the lyrics were but until you put images with those lyrics it's quite difficult to really realize how dark they are and this one is dark.  Might I also point out the bowl cut that 2 out of every 3 boys from 3rd to 5th grade had.  Oh 1990's I miss you but not your haircuts!

What do you think of when you hear Jeremy?  Or any Pearl Jam song?


Chicago Line Cruises

This past weekend my best friend and unbiological twin, Becky, was in town and we were able to use my fabulous birthday present from Stephanie ... two tickets for an architectural boat tour!! I've been wanting to go on one for years.  There are quite a number of places that do the boat tours Chicago Architecture Foundation, Wendella Boat Tours and Chicago Line Cruises are the ones I would suggest.  Our tickets were for Chicago Line Cruises, one of my favorite parts about them is that they work with the Chicago History Museum to put on the tours.

We went on the architectural tour but they also have historical tours along with special evening tours, cocktail architectural and fireworks tours.  They don't explain much of the difference between the different styles of tour but we definitely got a good amount of history through the architectural one.  I think if I was to do it again I would do a historical one though or a cocktail.  The views were awesome in the daylight so I can only imagine what it looks like at nighttime!

Becky & I at the start of the tour.  

Sometimes in life it's also about the small things ... another big plus for Chicago Line Cruises is that their top deck had a canopy!  It was crazy hot Friday and that definitely helped to make it a more enjoyable tour.  I won't say too much about the details I'll let the photos speak for themselves.

Those are just a couple of the amazing views of Skyscraper alley and the city we saw.  One of our favorite parts was that we were able to see the city from an angle that we've never seen.  There were so many converted condo buildings that were made from factories and old warehouses, seeing all of different styles of architecture right next to each other and little tidbits about the buildings.  One tidbit I didn't know before was that some of the buildings are slightly curved like the bends in the river that they're on and the blue/green glass is supposed to mimic the color of the river, the last photo is the perfect example of that.  Until you're down on the river you never really notice that the buildings have that slight bend but I guarantee now that it's been pointed out to me I will be looking for it all over!

The boat tours can be a little pricey from about $30-$40 per adult at the various ones but honestly it's so worth it!  Plus if you're looking for a one of a kind Chicago experience it's totally worth it.  If you're in the area or know when you'll be coming be sure to check out Groupon and Living Social, every now and then deals for the boat tours pop up.  Now let's cross it off the list!!


Ryan's Dirty Thirty

This past weekend was a big celebration for our good friend Ryan's 30th birthday.  Kelli had been planning this shindig I think since March and it was super hard to keep it a secret and talk about it with her cause he was always around!  In the end it was great because it was totally surprised, his parents came up from Kentucky and one of his friends who is out in Seattle came in.

Look I was able to work my photoshop magic and make a collage!  Everyone started of the day pretty tame but once we hit the trolley all bets were off!  There were get you drunk in one fell swoop jello shots made by Kelli's mom (upper right photo).  Even Stephanie thought that they were really strong!  Check out her post for fabulous shots of me enjoying my jello shots.  

Collage part two!  This one really does show the ridiculousness of the day.  Ryan taking a shot out of a blow up sheep's butt, Jay doing pull ups on the trolley, Kelli toasting, Ryan singing his heart out to Fun and Kevin sitting on the ground.  

Let me tell you about Kevin and his tolerance.  Well more like lack thereof.  He has a two beer tolerance and then he's buzzed.  That day he had at least five ... that I know of!  By the time we got to Headquarters Beercade he was so done.  Instead of going inside and sitting on a chair like a normal person he went drunk college girl and plopped down outside on the sidewalk at 5pm with little kids walking by.  OH Kevin I love you haha.  

This is probably my favorite photo from the day.  Since Kevin made me bring my big purse I told him he had to carry it and this is what he did.  Great day!




Hope y'all had a good weekend!  Ours was a crazy one but you'll find out more about that on Thursday's link up : )  Just want to let you know I literally have meetings every evening this week so you might be getting a lot of pinterest love this week.  Hopefully not cause I'm trying to get ahead today but if you've ever met/read me you know how well that seems to work!
Elyse.  This is someone that honestly I've never really even mentioned to people in my everyday life and some of the thoughts I have today I've never have even told my parents.  This is just a jumble of my thoughts so I apologize if it's not very well thought out today.

Elyse is my older sister.  She passed away when she was just a baby and today would have been her 30th birthday.

The picture above is one of two that I always remember seeing of her growing up, the second is one of her standing up with a little plastic grocery cart that I remember playing with all the time as a child.  When I got older (and could actually have rational thoughts) I would think how nice it was that we had that physical connection even though we had never been sisters in same physical space.

I don't think about her all the time but every now and then, usually when something larger happens in life or I get nostalgic and look through my photos, I start to think how things would have been different if I had a big sister.  Would she and I have ganged up on Louie together?  Would the two of them have ganged up on me?  Would she and I have looked alike?  Maybe I would have followed her to the college she chose.  Would she have been my Maid of Honor?  Would I have been hers?

I always thought how nice it would have been to have a sister who I could do things with all the time.  Then I realized even though I wasn't able to have my blood sister around anymore God provided other sisters for me in the form of two Bs!  Bethany and Becky!  I really do like to think that if Elyse would have been around that we would be as goofy as Bethany and I get (heaven help Louie & Kevin when we get that way too) or she and I would have loved going to see cover bands together especially the 80's ones like Becky and I do.  Even though sometimes I get annoyed that I didn't know Elyse and how it wasn't fair that I never got to meet her there was obviously a reason.  For whatever reason that is I'm so grateful I have two un-biological sisters to help fill that place.  Yup I am very blessed.  

Happy Birthday Elyse.


Chicago History Museum

Without a doubt one of my top five favorite Chicago area museums is definitely the Chicago History Museum.  Opened in 1856 it's touted as the oldest cultural institution in the city.  Unfortunately thanks to the Great Chicago Fire and then a second one a few years later most of the original collection was destroyed.  Years of collecting along with some fabulous purchases for the collection, including the 1920 purchase of the bed Lincoln died in, have turned their collection into a world class one.

Low rider right when walk into the museum
One of my absolute favorite parts of the Chicago History Museum is the permanent exhibit, Chicago: Crossroads of America.  The first thing you see when you walk into the space is the large locomotive and the "L" car.  For those who haven't been to Chicago and wondered what an "L" is it's the eLevated train that runs throughout the city.  While a fabulous way to get around be prepared for crazies but that's a whole other post!  This particular "L" car was from the time of the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 and they do a fabulous job telling stories of real people who attended the Exposition.  

In addition to the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 the Chicago: Crossroads of America goes through the entire history of Chicago from Fort Dearborn to Al Capone to stories from current residents in Chicago diverse neighborhoods.  Downstairs is one of people's favorite exhibits, the Dioramas.  Recently restored they take you through Chicago history from 1804 to present in such extreme detail it's amazing. 

The Great Fire of 1871.  This photo doesn't do the detail justice!

Not only does the Chicago History Museum have amazing permanent exhibitions but they always have multiple temporary exhibitions that wow.  During my last visit these included Shalom Chicago along with photo exhibit Vivian Maier's Chicago.  One of my favorite temporary exhibits is always one that involves the costume collection of the Chicago History Museum.  They are known around the world for their extensive and fabulous costume collection.  

I would definitely suggest a visit here if you're in town.  It is a bit out of the loop but there are multiple buses that will get you right outside the door or a few blocks away along with taking the "L" Purple line (and a little walking!).  With the adult price of $14, discounted prices for students and seniors and kids under 12 getting in free, with admission including two audio tours, this is a great price.  You're also right at the edge of Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park neighborhood with it's many different restaurants and shopping options making a day out of your visit to the Chicago History Museum.

My friend Tim & I the last day of our internship at CHM.  We're standing in front of the old part of the building.

I have an awesome picture of myself as a Chicago style hotdog from the children exhibit but we can't find my darn hard drive.  I will keep looking so I can share that picture with you next week. : )

Have a fabulous weekend!


Too Many Changes {Link-up}

I have been waiting for I think at least two weeks to share this post with you, someone was slacking last week and didn't have her link-up going *cough cough* : D

2013 seems to be the year of massive change and ending eras for me.  The most recent one is Kevin has left 'Stache.  This was actually a while in the making.  We were hoping to end out the summer but with Kevin's job things were just too crazy.  Kevin was feeling for a while that he needed to devote more time and energy to work and me.  Although don't let that sentence lead you to believe that I was nagging him to quit.  I was actually pretty upset about him leaving.

So with all that being said two weekends ago Kevin had his last official show (and the proceeded to be a fill in the next weekend ha!).  It was a crazy fun night.  I got Lou & Bethany to come out, Stephanie was in town, Kevin's cousins came out and so did some of our other friends' that we haven't seen in a while and some since our wedding!

In celebration of what I was worried was my last night of awesomeness (it's not no worries!) here is our partying in celebration of Kevin's illustrious five years in one nice big photo dump!

Louie & Bethany rocking out 

Kelli and I

Kevin's friend Jonathan from high school.  He's been out of town so much this past year this is the first time we've seen him since our wedding!


Kelli and her mom.  Kelli got her pretty drunk and she is even MORE fun, it was great :)

I love my sister in law.  Two peas in a pod

Stephanie and I rocking our matching shirts


Five years crazy.  It's still really overwhelming to think something that has been that huge a part of our life is not going to be there anymore.  I don't like change!  Although Kevin did tell me he'd drive me anywhere and everywhere so looks like we will still be going to every show and rocking out but now Kevin can hang out with the ladies!


Tunes on a Tuesday: When You Were Young

This past week one of my extremely close friends and sorority sister's Stephanie came in to visit!  We didn't hang out the entire week (she does have other peeps she had to visit while she was here .. I guess) but when we did it was an awesome time!  I feel like I've told this story before but in case you missed it I'm going to tell it again : )

Kevin and Stephanie were friends first through the band members and some of their friends.  I met Stephanie the first time I met any of Kevin's friends.  We became fast friends and a few months in realized we were sorority sisters and became even closer.  Like any friend of Stache she was out at every show and we would rock it out pretty much every weekend.

I'm not entirely sure how it happened but "When You Were Young" by the Killers has somehow become our song.  I think part of this fact revolves around the guys playing this song all the time!  I'm sure it also was in part that the guys just rocked the heck out it too.

Until maybe a year and a half ago I had never seen the music video for this song and it really made the lyrics hit home.  I always used to think it was just about being sad that you're getting old but not quite!  I still like to think that's what it's about though, you don't want to get too depressed when the song is so rocking.  So every time I hear that song I will just continue to get nostalgic about when we were young ... in 2008 ... : )

Stephanie and I at the show.  Yup we're wearing the same shirt.  

What is your favorite Killers tune?


Seven Layer Salad Spread

I know I was taunting you like crazy last week with those photos so I figured I'd be nice and post the recipe today.  If you missed them check out and follow me on Instagram for when I post yummy photos.

 Seven Layer Salad Spread
This recipe was a big hit at 4th of July and would have been all devoured if there were more of us.  We can only eat so much!  It is also a fabulous recipe from the Pampered Chef ... check out the original here


6   slices cooked bacon (I actually used more than 6 cause we love bacon!)
4 oz sharp cheddar cheese
4   green onions with tops
2   plum tomatoes, divided
2 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2   garlic cloves, pressed
3/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 tsp salt
Toasted Baguette Slices 

Betsy's Tips: I actually made this recipe lighter by using light cream cheese and mayo and 2% sharp cheddar.

1.  Finely chop bacon using Food Chopper (I used my knife because I couldn't find my chopper); set aside 2 tbsp for garnish. 
Tried out my Stainless Steel pan for bacon ... was not a fan I will stick to my Non-Stick!

2.  Grate cheddar cheese using Microplane®Adjustable Coarse Grater. Slice green onions with Chef’s Knife. Seed and dice tomatoes; set aside.

3.  Place cream cheese in Classic Batter Bowl; microwave, uncovered, on HIGH 30 seconds or until slightly softened. Add remaining bacon, cheddar cheese, green onions, mayonnaise, pressed garlic and 1/2 tsp of the black pepper; mix well.

4.  Place peas, salt and remaining 1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper into Manual Food Processor; cover and pump handle until finely chopped. 

5.  Line Small Batter Bowl with plastic wrap; spread half of the cream cheese mixture evenly over bottom using Small Spreader. Top with half of the pea mixture and half of the tomatoes. Repeat layers one time.
Just fold over the excess and put the batter bowl lid on for easy transportation!

To serve, invert Small Batter Bowl onto Large Round Platter. Remove plastic wrap. Top with reserved bacon. Serve with Toasted Baguette Slices (I would definitely go with the baguette slices, it was ok with crackers but the bread was perfect!)
I accidentally forgot my platter at home but it turned out delicious!

This was definitely a hit and will definitely make it onto my rotation!  I especially loved that most of the time I actually have 90% of these ingredients in my house so I only had to get a few extra during my usual shopping trip.