Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 2015

12.31.2015

This Blog Link Up Under Construction!!



Coming soon to a Thursday near you will be a new link up!! Right now I'm working on developing a Thursday link up and it will hopefully start pretty soon in 2016. Interested in learning more and co-hosting? Shoot me an email and we'll chat : )

Keep an eye out for what's coming to a Thursday near you in 2016!

12.30.2015

15 Favorite Posts From 2015

Wow we just have one day left in 2015! That's crazy. The past couple years have just been flying by and 2015 was no different! Since everyone tends to get a little nostalgic the last week of the year why should things be any different here on Musings of a Museum Fanatic? In case you missed any of these amazing posts, check out my favorite 15 posts from 2015.

There was tons of new favorite recipes shared ...
CORN & BLACK BEAN SALSA


CRAB STUFFED CHICKEN


CRAB RAVIOLI IN CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE



We also felt a little old this year ...

YOU KNOW YOU'RE NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL ANYMORE WHEN ...


30 THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 1985


30 THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN 1995


Museums galore ...

MUSEUM OF BROADCAST COMMUNICATIONS


PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY


LOYOLA UNIVERSITY MUSEUM OF ART


HIGH TEA AT THE LANGHAM HOTEL

So much organizing and blog stuff!

6 ITEMS YOU CAN TOSS RIGHT NOW


5 WAYS TO START REDUCING YOUR ELECTRONIC CLUTTER


4 APPS TO EARN GIFTCARDS

TIPS FOR A PRODUCTIVE BLOG DAY

BLOGGERS TO SPONSOR OVER & OVER AGAIN

Can't wait to share a whole new year of posts with you!

12.29.2015

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,
What a day to celebrate! This is the 151st week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week!

**IMPORTANT HOUSEKEEPING NOTE! We are looking for co-hosts for our blog hop for FEBRUARY ! This is a great way to gain new followers and network with other bloggers! If you are interested please email thedwellingtree@gmail.com! Thank you!

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!
Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs, comment, and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news!
 Let’s Be Friends


***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop.
Meet your hosts:

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'
Meet this week's co-hosts:
PicMonkey Collage PicMonkey Collage2
Christine @ Christine Everyday
Rachel @ Life as Rachel
Lindsay @ The Flynnigans

Thank you all once again for continually linking up at our blog hop. It is such a fun time and I am so impressed each week with all the amazing posts. Please continue to link up an actual post instead of your blog. We want to keep reading your content and it makes it more fun to pick a winner!
Is there anything we can do differently or better? Please share in the comments!

12.28.2015

5 Things to Remember when Planning Your at Home NYE

When Kevin was still with Stache New Years Eve was always a big deal. They would be playing at one of the big hotels in the Loop, myself and all the ladies would get super dolled up then rock out till we couldn't stand up. It was always a lot of fun but now that I'm a little bit older, prefer to be chill more and trying to save money those expensive, crazy NYE out just don't cut it for us anymore.

Even though we stay at home that doesn't mean we're just falling in front of the TV at 8pm. It's the perfect evening to do something special.

1. Make a night of it. I'm a big fan of going for a full on theme. For our NYE this year I think we're going to go for game night. We bought a somewhat (or extremely if you ask Kevin) hard puzzle at Disney that we haven't even opened yet. Usually for game nights we tend to have lots of wonderful munchies so I think that's what we're going to do this year.

Last year mom and I had a fancier fondue NYE. I find that making a night of it and planning out a theme to the night makes it a little more special and you won't feel like you're lame or missed out on something by staying in. 


2. Have somewhat of a plan. So you've picked out your theme for your last night of 2015 now it's time to get down to specifics. I feel like lately all my tips include having a plan but I've come to realize that it is important!! If you don't plan out what you want to eat, especially if you're following my next tip, you could end up spending way more than you have to. Which we all know I don't want.

Not much a of a cook? Planning ahead is also important for you too! Say you want to grab take out or have something delivered from your favorite restaurant you bet your bottom dollar you better check ahead of time to make sure that they're open on NYE!

If you don't plan out what movie you want to watch you might not have time to get it from Netflix or rent it from the library. Maybe you want to borrow a game from your sister and you didn't plan ahead to ask and now they want to use it NYE since they read this post and decided on a fabulous night in.


3. Splurge. NYE seems to be one of those nights each year that people like to splurge and go all out. Have you seen what some of the ticketed events cost? Downtown Chicago where our friends are playing tickets start at about $135 and just go up from there. Why shouldn't you splurge a tad on your at home night?

Exactly you should! Watch the sales fliers and get lobster tails and steak for dinner early so you won't be paying an arm and a leg but will still indulge. Don't go for the $100 bottle of champagne but keep an eye out for deals on the more mid range ones. Or if you just want a special bubbly and aren't a big wine/champagne drinker (like myself!) go for a low range sparkling wine.


4. Take it up a notch. Just because you're staying in doesn't mean you have to get into your pajamas at 6 and put the hair up in a ponytail. Maybe you and your guy wear nice outfits for your nice night in. Or if you just want to veg out break out your nice pajamas that you don't wear often because you have your comfy stand by.

Go crazy and get some dollar store NYE celebration items as well. Get some crowns and a couple noise makers to ring in 2016. Yeah it seems silly to spend money on something like that but this will take your night in to an actual celebration.


5. Relax & have fun! Whenever I try and do something special I always put pressure on myself to make it awesome and perfect, even when it's a night at home. I just have to tell myself that Kevin and I will have fun and enjoy our time together no matter how good or bad things go.

What are your tips for a fun NYE at home?

12.25.2015

Merry Christmas!!!


Merry Christmas everyone!!!

12.16.2015

8 Christmas Movies To Watch On Netflix

When winter hits here in Chicago I go into hibernation mode! This usually means cuddling on the couch enjoying movies with Kevin. While the weather has been unseasonably nice so far this winter it doesn't mean we haven't gone into hibernation mode. I've been inundating our movie nights with Christmas movies. Kevin doesn't seem to be a fan of some but I love Netflix for having a Christmas movie for everyone!



Christmas Bounty
Probably one of the more ridiculous Christmas movies out there! She's a secret bounty hunter whose biggest collar is out and wants revenge. Trying to put him back in jail along with saving her family, dopey fiance and dealing with the sparks from her ex boyfriend this silly Christmas movie a fun one for a night in. 



Christmas Cupid
Chad Michael Murray ... I mean really do I need to say anything more? It's fantastic.


I'll Be Home for Christmas
I remember when this one came out! Such a good full on Christmas comedy. JTT is in his element and you are just rooting for him the entire movie.


Christmas Kiss
Stereotypical Boy meets girl in elevator in "mask". Boy kisses girl. Girl turns out to be his girlfriend's assistant but he doesn't recognize her even though she wasn't really wearing that great of a mask. Girlfriend turns out to be a big bi***h aaaaand I think we can all figure out the rest? It's so predictable yet I still love it.

12 Dates of Christmas
This might be one of my favorite ABC Family Christmas movies. I've probably seen it a dozen times now. It's got a Christmas and Groundhogs Day (the movie) thing going on and I totally dig it. Plus it doesn't hurt that Mark Paul Gosselaar is not only a dreamboat but is also sweet and caring. It takes Amy Smart's character a while to get it together but she figures it out eventually and everything has a lovely fairy tale ending.


White Christmas
Need a little classical Christmas in your life? White Christmas has you written all over it. If you're hanging out with Grandma reminiscing about what Christmas was like back in her day this is the perfect flick.


Nightmare Before Christmas 
Not a typical Christmas person? Need a little fright in your Christmas? Disney and Netflix have you covered.


Fireplace for Your Home
This is probably the best thing I've ever found on Netflix. For us, living in an apartment we miss out on the Christmas in front of the roaring fire. Now thanks to Netflix we don't have to feel left out! It's not just one but three episodes of a crackling fire with Christmas music. As if this couldn't be any better Netflix made the above trailer!

To get you in the Christmas spirit Netflix has you covered! What's your favorite Christmas movie to chill at home and watch?

12.14.2015

4 Apps to Earn Giftcards

I have not received compensation for this post. If you use my link to register I will get some points though! All opinions are my own.

Since getting a smart phone a few years ago I've really embraced using apps to their fullest extent. This has included using them to earn gift cards and other rewards!! I've found that using apps are a great way to earn a little extra dough or another reward you've been eyeing without a lot of work.

Swagbucks
I know you've seen me mention Swagbucks in the past so I won't chat too much about it. Swagbucks is by far where I have earned the most amount of gift cards and I'm definitely the most actively using. Pretty sure I've earned over $500 since starting.

There is also a special promotion going on right now, I posted about it earlier today.

ReceiptPal
This app is one that I found through another blogger maybe like a year ago now. You have a set number of receipts you can load each week and for every 4 receipts you get 100 points and then any more you can load for entries in the weekly sweepstakes. It's taken quite a while but I'm almost to a $100 Amazon gift card. One con is that the receipts can only be from the current month and it does take a while to accumulate points but for only taking like 5 minutes each week to take pictures of receipts before I pitch them it's totally worth it.

Shopkick
My friend Becky turned me on to Shopkick recently and I've been enjoying it so far. Their set up is almost like a game where at certain stores you can scan items for points as well as getting points just for going in to a store. There may have been a couple times where I sent Kevin on a mission to scan items while I grocery shopped. So far I haven't redeemed my kicks (points) for anything, I chose to save up my kicks for a Kitchen Aid mixer but there are gift cards and other prizes too. Again this is another simple one that you can tack on to shopping you already do. I mean come on you're already going to be in Target why not get some points while you're at it!

National Consumer Panel
I don't actually earn gift cards through NCP, they have a rewards catalog where you can earn different prizes. When I started they didn't have the app you had to apply but it seems that you might just be able to sign up. You track your spending during the week and get points for transmitting your shopping trips. They also have surveys they invite you to complete for points as well. Right now I'm saving up my points for a Kitchen Aid or a Michael Kors watch ... we shall see which I go for!


Swagbucks Santa's Lil' Helper Challenge

**Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Swagbucks. I have not received any compensation for this post, but I may receive Swagbucks if you use my affiliate link.**

The holidays are a time to celebrate but they are also a time of giving. There are so many people that don’t have the privilege of a holiday experience they justly deserve, whether it be gifts or a hearty meal. While we celebrate with our family and friends it is important to reflect on all the blessings that have been bestowed on us and remember that we have a duty to help others. That’s why Swagbucks is humbly asking all of you to be Santa’s Lil Helpers this holiday season in their newest Team Challenge! 

For the first time ever Swagbucks will allow us to donate your Team Challenge bonuses to a charity of our choice!

The season of giving begins Monday, December 14th at 8am PT/12pm ET so get in a giving mood. The Team Challenge ends Friday, December 18th at 12pm PT/3pm ET but you are encouraged to stay in the holiday spirit through New Years of course!

All members who participate and contribute at least 200 points to their team’s total will be receive a SB bonus. Members of the 1st place team will receive a 40 SB bonus, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 20 SB bonus!

On Monday, December 21st you’ll receive an Inbox message asking if you want to donate your Team Challenge Bonus to a charity of your choice. If you accept, we will donate your bonus, in your name, to your charity!

If you are new to the Swagbucks world, make sure to create your free account here. Once you do, you will be able to join the Team Challenge right away and start getting paid for doing your everyday online tasks. 
'Tis the season to get Swagging and do some good, so lets have some fun and spread the joy!

12.11.2015

Happy Birthday Mom!!



Wishing Happy Birthday to the best woman in my life! I love you so much Mom!!

12.08.2015

Windows at Macy's on State Street

This weekend Kevin and I made our now yearly trip to the Christkindlmarket with our families. Usually we just hang out at the market the entire but because of the amazing weather today everyone and their mother was out! We decided to head a block east and check out the Macy's on State Street Christmas windows.

This years theme was "Santa's Journey to the Stars," and traces the adventures of Alex, a boy who receives a magical telescope that enables him to experience the wonder of Christmas on other planets before landing back on Earth at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. There was also a couple of random Peanuts windows. Not gonna lie, I love Peanuts so those were definitely my favorite windows but the other ones were fantastic as well.

Between the huge groups of people and the crazy amount of reflection on the windows my photos weren't quite as good as I wanted. Might have almost tripped over a little kid to get one of the photos ... whoops!


























12.03.2015

Christmas Songs I Despise

Forever ago I shared a couple of my favorite Christmas songs well this week we're going to the opposite end of the spectrum!  Cause while you love some songs there are some that you just despise.  I haven't gotten a chance to talk about this artist yet but Weird Al takes the cake for my top two songs that I just really do not like.    

If you haven't heard of Weird Al before seriously go check him out he's hilarious!  He is a parody artist or a comedic musician.  He will take songs and change the words to hilariousness, he doesn't just do parodies he also does original humorous songs.  A couple of my favorites of his are actually some of his originals.

Even though I am a huge fan of him and his songs I just can't stand the Christmas ones!!



"Christmas at Ground Zero" would definitely be my choice of the two.  The premise of the song is during the Cold War when everyone though nuclear catastrophe could happen at any time and Weird Al then goes into a little more detail about when it does happen.  The song is catchy and upbeat so I will give him that but overall not his best work.

***Disclaimer: If you're not a fan of violence & violent subject matter you probably shouldn't watch the video***


"The Night Santa Went Crazy" is definitely my choice for worse Christmas song!  I've just never been a fan of gratuitous violence and this song has it.  Part of the reason I despise it is that no one wants to think of Santa going cray cray with a German lugger, we just don't.  I personally prefer him with gifts of clothes and shoes not bullets and leftover reindeer meat.  All I can think of when he talks about the reindeer is cute little Rudolph in the old stop motion classic, so sad.    

While there are quite a few terrible Christmas songs *cough cough Twisted Sister cough* Weird Al you take the cake on having the two I despise the most!!  

12.01.2015

Gifts For Your Disney Fanatic

With Christmas right around the corner I'm sure a lot of people have waited until the last minute. It's easy to find toys for the Disney kid fanatic in your life but sometimes it can be tough finding a nice present for the adult fanatic. I've pulled together a few ideas for the adult Disney fanatic would love to receive this year!


Magic Kingdom Map Appetizer Serving Set

This fun and colorful serving set is perfect for adding a fun touch of Disney to any party. Plus the versatile style allows you to use it for serving all sorts of food from multiple dips to candy to nuts.
Mickey Mouse Buttons Crossbody Bag by Dooney & Bourke
For a big splurge look no further than the Disney Dooney and Bourke line. An online or in parks only item these bags range from wallets to totes in a ton of different styles and prints. I'm a fan of this button print because it combines all the different characters, the main guys, princesses and everyone in between! If you're looking for something a bit subtler check out the sketched leather pieces. They still have the mouse shapes but since it's all one color it's not so in your face Disney.

Sleeping Beauty Print by InkistPrints
Etsy is probably the next best place to find amazing Disney gifts! The prints from InkistPrints are amazing. I love the watercolor look of them all. Not only can you find a TON of Disney prints they have city maps and vintage poster prints.

Disney Princess Inspired Wine Charms by BAWCreations1
Wine charms can be a nice small way to share your Disney side. We don't drink wine at our house but I totally use our champagne glasses for my orange juice and I know they could use some extra bling.

Disney Family Treats Tote – Mickey - Christmas 2015
Haven't been to a Disney Park in a while? Need to get your fix of Disney treats? Check out Disney Floral and Gifts. They have wonderful gift baskets bursting with Disney treats, both edible and non-edible. Some of the packages can get pretty pricey quickly but if you're getting it as a family gift and plan on sharing then it would be worth the splurge.

Disney Collection at Pandora
My Pandora bracelet is my favorite piece of jewelry these days. Since the Disney collection has come out my bracelet has almost become an entirely Disney one. Not only have they come out with beautiful charms but there are rings and earrings as well.

During our October trip to Disney World we found out about a new app Disney released. The Shop Disney Parks app. Not only was it amazing to search for items while we were on property it has the very handy function of being able to order at any time aka you can buy your Disney souvenirs any time and any place. Theoretically you wouldn't have to set foot in Disney World ever again but who would be crazy enough to do that!

Now that I've got you covered for my Christmas gifts ... I mean the Disney fanatic in your life get on that Christmas shopping!!

11.25.2015

5 Tips for Writing Your 101 List Goals


When deciding to actually do a 101 list, or really any other big goal type list, it always seems like deciding on the tasks themselves are always the hardest part. I've got some tips that will make writing your list a little bit easier. 

1. Break it Down. 
When dealing with lists the size of a 101 list it's best to break it down. Currently my 101 list is broken up into different topic sections. Not only does that help organize but it helps to not go so out of control with one section over the other. This happened to me in the travel section of my first 101 list. I kept adding so many in that category and not so many in others. I realized that I probably wouldn't have the money for so many travel goals but not enough time too. 

2. Devil is in the Details
One of the biggest issues I had with not being able to complete as much of my first 101 list was that I was very vague about what I wanted to do and the time frame. This hurt my process because I left those until later because they were vague, didn't take time later to define which just meant I pushed them aside. Second time around I have made sure to be more detailed in not only the task itself but also the time frames.

3. Take Time to Decide
Doing something grand like a 101 list means you're committing yourself to 2.75 years with these goals. Even if you aren't doing a 101 list and doing a smaller one, like 30 before your 30, take some time to ponder them. Make sure they're ones you actually care about and want to complete. Sometimes it feels like people just add goals because they sound good. Do you really want to go to Paris? Or are you just putting it on your list because it sounds good. Maybe you'd prefer to visit Tokyo.  When going through and setting my goals this round I wrote and rewrote them a number of times.

4. Edit
Have someone look at them. Have a few people look at them. Heck have everyone you know look at them. Well maybe not that many people but I would highly recommend having a couple people who might be involved with your goals or are close to you check them out. In addition to Stephanie I had Kevin look them over (for obvious reasons) and my friend Rachel. She's known me since high school and knows me really well to where she can say I feel like you might be over reaching with that goal or you can totally make that one a little harder. 

5. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
I know I said before if everyone is saying they want to go to Paris you don't have to. That doesn't mean you can't look at someone's list and gain inspiration! I definitely googled 101 lists to see what everyone had on theirs. Quite a number of my goals were inspired from something someone else wrote. Maybe they said they wanted to bake bread with their bread maker, well that made me think how I had been wanting to bake bread with my Deep Covered Baker. 


11.23.2015

Oh Straightner, my straightner.

I've come to realize that my beloved CHI flat iron is slowly betraying me. It sits there saying "OH yes I'm all nice and heated up I swear", then I rush to make sure I'm presentable when I leave the house. One swipe .... two swipes ... three then four. My hair is still not straight and only somewhat warm.

My CHI you have failed me!!!

I guess we've had a good run, I inherited you at one year and have enjoyed you for over seven. It's time to put old Bessie out to pasture.

With Black Friday coming up rather quickly now I've been exploring different flat irons. I've narrowed it down to four different types that have really good reviews!  

Do you have any of these flat irons? Or is there one not on my list that you would recommend?!










11.19.2015

Little Free Library

Five years, in 2009, a man named Todd Bol from Hudson, Wisconsin built a little school house as a tribute to his mother. She was a former school teacher who loved to read. Todd filled the little schoolhouse with books that were free to everyone. Thus the Little Free Library was born. Soon friends and family began to love the idea and he built more little schoolhouses to give to people in the community. After discussing the project with University of Wisconsin-Madison professor, Rick Brooks, the two men saw this as an opportunity to reach certain goals. 


The Mission
To promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide and to build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity and wisdom across generations.


Our Goal
To build 2,510 Little Free Libraries—as many as Andrew Carnegie—and keep going.

Since it's inception the Little Free Library concept has grown by leaps and bounds. Achieving it's goal by August 2012 and by January 2015 an estimated 25,000 registered Little Free Libraries existing.



Yup that's a guitar pic for the door


A few years ago my Mom, being the fantastic children's librarian she is tasked my Dad with building their own Little Free Library. Since then the corner with the bench has grown exponentially more popular. People make special trips from two blocks away to add books and check to see what's new. There was even someone who stopped at 4am to grab a book!

If you're not familiar with Little Free Library go check it out and consider building your own!


 He enjoys reading the books more than hanging out inside. 

11.17.2015

Bloggers to Sponsor Over & Over Again

Sponsoring another blogger is a big deal. Unless you've won a free space on their blog (if so go you!!) you're spending money on them and the fact that they will help you promote your blog. Since starting up my blog I've won my fair amount of ad space and shelled out my own money for space. There are definitely some people who I would (and have) spend money on ad space on their blog over and over again.

Southern Beauty Guide
Chelsee is a wonderful beauty blogger. She will promote your blog, you social media and she's just a great person to get to know as well. Swaps seem to have gone the way of the dodo but Chelsee is awesome enough to still have a swap option too. 

My So Called Chaos
Angie is fantastic. When I first started out blogging she was actually one of the first people I won ad space for. The experience was great then and I just came off another stint on her blog. Another great experience.

Penniless Socialite
One of my favorite ladies and maybe the person I've sponsored the most since starting is Tara from Penniless Socialite. Her prices are great even without the discounts she offers on a regular basis and Tara is always remembering to send a shout out or comment your way. Plus her blog is fantastic, I always love her down to earth fashion ensembles.

Simply Clarke
Marquis is a sweet lifestyle blogger. I've actually never paid for a sponsorship with her since I've somehow been lucky enough to win a space multiple times but she makes it well worth what you pay for the sponsor spot. One aspect of her sponsorship that not too many bloggers have is an active Facebook group for her sponsors. It has been a great way to connect with other bloggers and to share content as well as things like get in on other giveaways.

Sea Salt Secrets
Shane is one of my favorite travel bloggers to read, her posts as she works and lives down under are amazing. Not only can you find amazing photos but you can also find an amazing blogger to work with. By now you'll see a common theme like the other ladies I've listed Shane offers social media shout outs and other perks as part of your sponsor package plus her prices won't kill your budget.

These are my top bloggers who I would sponsor again and again. Who is your favorite blogger to sponsor?

11.13.2015

Inspirational Movie Quotes

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration!

Do, or do not. There is no “try”. – Yoda, Star Wars

Oh yes, the past can hurt. But you can either run from it, or learn from it. – Rafiki, The Lion King

Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out? – What a Girl Wants
Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. – Ferris, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want. – Heath Ledger, 10 Things I Hate About You

I don’t regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do. – Empire Records

Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something, not even me. Alright? You dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period. – Chris Gardner, The Pursuit of Happyness

After a while, you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are. – Shrek
Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Makes your lives extraordinary. - Robin Williams, Dead Poets Society

11.10.2015

Life Lately

So I realize I've been a little quiet this past week or so. I feel like I haven't caught you up on everything else that's been going on in life either. I know I'm really slacking lately.

1. For me last week was crap. I wrote a post about it. Surprisingly writing while I was upset and on my phone it didn't come out that terrible haha. Still feel weird at work this week. Not sure what my next step will be.

2. Kevin started his new job yesterday! It's totally different from his old place and so far he's loving it. I hope it continues to be great even after the first few get to know you weeks.

3. I'm now totally addicted to FitBit. Since we're unpacking from the move I've been racking up the steps. At first I was loving the smack talking with my friends during the challenges then once I hit my first steps goal. Oh my gosh! The fireworks and the buzzing is addicting! Now I must achieve this every day. Very addicting.

4. Work on the DIY Christmas gifts is in full swing in our house! I've already got two gifts completely finished and wrapped. There are about four more in progress now and I think I've got all the stuff for all my projects now.

5. This past weekend we attended one of Kevin's friends he's known since junior high wedding. It was really cool because the couple is Indian. I had never been to a traditional Indian wedding before, neither had Kevin so it was definitely an experience. We really enjoyed the traditions like processing with the groom to meet the bride. There was music blaring, we were all dancing and jumping around.

The food was fantastic. Both of us were a little wary because we expected more of it to be pretty spicy. A majority of the dishes from the luncheon and dinner we not spicy at all. I would totally go back to the restaurant that's attached to the banquet place.

6. Stepping up my Pampered Chef game lately. I've really been trying to start the conversation with people about Pampered Chef. Especially when it comes to helping people with things like recipes and replacement parts. I really would like to build a more active customer base and focusing on other ways I can help will I feel will add to that. There have been a number of people who I've been talking about shows the next month or so. Hopefully the holidays will be good Pampered Chef wise.

Things have been a little roller coaster recently, hopefully they'll start to calm down!


11.04.2015

Crap

I had started this great, funny post over the weekend for last night that I was going to finish up after work. Well I didn't really feel up to that yesterday.

Found out that the director of my museum position I applied for I did not get.

Let me explain a bit. U have pretty much been running the department for almost a year, partially because of the previous director not wanting to be there and then when they were moved in June I was more officially acting as director. I didn't really have any help figuring stuff out because things needed to get done. We were moving at the end of last month so everything needed to still be full steam ahead.

I am not happy at all by this decision. I feel sort of betrayed. When talking with the higher up person in the past it seemed he wanted to eventually move me in to the position and if he didn't have to post the position would have been perfectly fine moving me in to the position.

I realize this happens all the time but when you're the expert museum person who has been there for over two and a half years already and someone new is brought in that you will have to share all the knowledge that you just spend 8 months figuring out on your own because there was no one there to help you. Also because of the nature of the place this person cannot just come in and hit the bricks running. Their is major hierarchy, language and systems.

I'm pretty much going to still be taking care of business for months while this person comes in and will be getting the glory for it.

At this point I have no idea what I should do. I make a great salary (I think!) for a museum and the benefits are insanely good. The other hand, how can I stay when I feel like utter crap about the situation and might have some resentment about the whole situation.

I will say I am getting tired of this feeling of two steps forward and one back in my career.

10.29.2015

Target Giveaway

This past month I was hanging out with the fabulous Angie over at My So Called Chaos. She's pretty awesome. I've hung out on her sidebar in the past and it was always a great experience. Angie always has awesome posts about blogger stuff like Useful Information from Other Bloggers and How to Make Pinterest Really Work Hard For You. She hosting a Target giveaway!

So while you're entering the giveaway be sure to stop over and say hi to Angie!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

10.28.2015

10 Articles to Improve Your Career

When you get to a certain point in your career you're not so much looking to move up the ladder right at that moment but looking to improve yourself and your skills. I'm definitely at that point with my career. Being a researcher I have been reading a large number of articles that are aimed at improving you and your career self.

Here are 10 articles I've found with some great career advice.

28 Steal-Worthy Tips From the Most Productive People on the Planet

33 Ways to Boost Your Career When You're Bored at Work

12 Habits of People Who Always Fulfill Their Dreams

How Successful People Go From Good to Great in Anything They Do

Tips For Becoming A Boss From 34 Of NYC's Most Powerful Women

10 Things You Can Do Today To Advance Your Career

10 Reasons Some People Get Ahead in Their Careers While Others Don't

28 Life Hacks To Make Your Day So Much Easier

7 Secrets to Becoming a Great Leader at Work

36 Career Tips No One Will Actually Tell You

I hope you found some of the tips in these articles as useful as I have!

10.27.2015

Tips for Having a Mostly DIY Christmas



Christmas already?!?  Yup! It's less than 60 days until Christmas. The past few years I've made it a point to try and DIY Christmas gifts as much as possible. This year  in my own DIY olympics, I'm attempting to have at least 75% of my gifts as homemade. In preparation for that I'd thought I'd share some tips to help you DIY.

1. It's never too early. 
Yes I am that person who will think about next Christmas as soon as this one is over with.
This has helped me stock up on neat things like little Christmas ceramic dishes to serve dip in and small festive plates to give cookies on for $.25 to $.50 a piece! Right after Christmas is the best time to grab these items as they head to clearance. If you're tight on space look for plates or something else that won't take up as much space and can be stored flat.

2.  Know your "audience". 
I'm a big fan of giving gifts that my friends and family will actually enjoy and use. This requires actually paying attention to them and when they drop nuggets that will help you figure out a gift for them.

One example, when we visited uncle Mike in Dallas. He was mentioning how much he liked the stemless wine glasses but didn't have any. I had already been thinking about giving him a set of etched glasses and those comments just solidified those thoughts but stemless.

3. Don't over extend yourself.
If you've never tried to DIY Christmas gifts for people don't go all out in one year and try to do them for everyone. A few years ago I tried to do too much for everyone then I just ended up frustrated and everything came out kinda crappy. 

Also if you've never done a craft don't expect to have it mastered last minute. Metal stamping is on my list to try but since we're already in October I know I'm not going to master it enough to have a gift (that I would want to give) for Christmas. 

4. Try something new.
Yes this totally seems to contradict what I literally just said above but if there is a gift you think someone would like but isn't in you wheel house yet, try it! Just make sure that you've given yourself enough time to really learn how to do it. I've been working on learning how to make the mesh wreaths for a while now. I've been watching videos on YouTube and I'll be taking a class at a local Joann store at the beginning of November. 

5. Keep track  
One thing that can throw of your game is not remembering what you decided on giving whom and what supplies you'll need for the projects. I highly recommend physically keeping track, for me an Excel spread sheet seems to be working really well. I've got it set up with the name of the people I give Christmas and birthday gifts to and what I want to give them for the next year. I'll change the color of the text when I have the supplies and then again when I've completed the gift. This, for me, is an easy way to see what I've got left to accomplish. 

6. Keep it under control. 
One issue I have with crafting is a tend to go a little overboard buying supplies and the supplies will just start to accumulate everywhere. This can totally defeat the idea of doing DIY gifts to save money! It might help to avoid crafts stores once you've gotten the supplies you need or sticking to a strict list made for each project. 




10.23.2015

Oktoberfest Beer & Cider Dinner at Pheasant Run Resort and Spa


Early in the summer Kevin and I got a chance to enjoy a 3 Course Private Label Wine Paring dinner at Harvest Restaurant at Pheasant Run Resort. Much to Kevin's delight last night we got to experience their Oktoberfest Beer & Cider dinner.  Of the two of us he definitely enjoys beer much more than I do but I was excited to try the cider. You'll find Kevin's opinion to the dinner in green!


This meal started off with a seared crispy pork belly dipped in dark chocolate with chopped pistachios paired with Revolution Eugene Porter. For me the beer was not my favorite since as a non-beer drinker it was definitely on the heavier side. On the other hand I could eat that crispy pork belly every day! When Chef Tiffany came out to chat I mentioned experiences I had with pork belly being too fatty in the past and she said her preparation of the belly was specifically to avoid that. 

The porter’s bitter and strong after taste mellowed out and the beer became smoother with the food.  It was still a decent porter to begin with, but even better with the food.  Pork belly was crispy and both of us wanted more of it. 



Second came the Killarney Beer Cheese Soup paired with Harp Irish Lager. After hearing a couple in the booth next to us exclaiming how delicious it was we were both ready to try it. I enjoyed how the flavors of the beer and the soup played off each other. The soup was extremely thick and flavorful. I probably could have done that with just the pork belly and skipped the rest of the meal it was so filling!

The hoppy fruit taste of the Irish Lager  disappeared nearly 90% with the food.  I liked the beer before and during the food portion.  Betsy liked it more at the beginning but it went well with the food though.  The soup was heavy, but really good.


The main course came out with Chef Tiffany's statement that the grilled seasoned skirt steak with chimichurri was her favorite cut and steak dish. Needless to say the greatness we expected was delivered. It was accompanied by perfectly fried chips and sauteed veggies. I don't usually go for red meat with dinner but when I do I love that it's at places like Harvest where it's phenomenal. Since I was pretty full by that point I took home half of my steak and just finished it for dinner tonight. Paired with a Ranger IPA that I think we both felt complimented each other. 

The beer complimented the steak perfectly.  It tasted the same at the beginning and while eating.  No taste change detected on my end.  Steak was tender, great seasoning and we both loved it.  Veggies were good, but after being so full from the soup and the steak being so good, we could only eat so much.  The chips were good too, but we could have done without them.  Felt they were an extra item on this plate, but I would gladly eat those chips any day! 





Lastly was  Door County Granny Smith apple crisp featuring granny smith apples baked in crispy phyllo with Anglaise sauce paired with Crispin Honeycrisp Cider. I really appreciated the chef's understanding my issues with apples and cinnamon then making me a special creme brulee dessert. The creme brulee was creamy and sweet, a perfect end to a fantastic meal. Usually I'm not a big cider fan but I loved this one. It was sweet and tasted more like a champagne at times. Will definitely be checking to see where I can get that. 

Cider was very sweet and towards the champagne category when drank before the dessert.  While eating the dessert, the overly sweet nature mellowed out and I really enjoyed drinking it with the apple dessert.  I actually finished it. Chef Tiffany Tooker and I talked about the cider and both agreed we could probably drink a 12oz bottle of it, but no way could we do two bottles.  We both thought it matched the dessert really well.  

There is one more Thursday in the Oktoberfest pairing series.so be sure to call now, 800-4-PHEASANT (474-3272), and make your reservation! If you're unable to make this last one keep an eye out, it sounds like there are more pairing dinners in the works for the near future!

10.22.2015

Tips for a Productive Blog Day


Working full time makes keeping up with my blog a challenge at times. Two years ago Stephanie and I started having blog days every so often to help with getting our acts together.

A blog day (in my terms at least!) i
s a day specifically for working on tasks relating to blogging. I'm going to share some of the tips that I think make for a successful blog day.

1. Schedule. I'm not just talking about scheduling the date you want to have you blog day. Be sure to have at least a rough schedule for the day itself. This will help you stay on track. I know for our virtual blog day this weekend I'm planning out what I'm doing for meals as well as a rough time table of what I want to get done when.

2. Goals. For me this is a really important one. I know that I work way better when I've got set goals of things I want to accomplish. It allows me to really hunker down to work, instead of getting sidetracked because it's so vague I don't know where to start. 

Here's an example of my goals for this weekend:
1. Finish up 10 already started posts.
2. Go back and fix 5 posts so they are pin worthy.
3. Come up with 20 new post ideas.
4. Schedule two weeks worth of social media posts on each social media outlet

We decided that for this blog day we were going to each choose two bigger goals and two smaller. 

3. Have a buddy. As I mentioned Stephanie and I have been doing our own a few times a year now. There have been times where we've done an in-person/virtual blog day. I went and actually hung out at Stephanie's apartment and we connected virtually with other bloggers. Not only was it great to be able to bounce ideas off of another blogger but the accountability was awesome. 

Aren't able to schedule a blog day with a blogger friend? See if you can enlist a friend or family member who is good at keeping you accountable with stuff. Make a plan to check in with them a few times that day or show them what you've accomplished by the end of the day. 

4. Have the right tools ready. Going to need things like your hard drive with photos, a notebook for ideas, ingredients to make a recipe for a post or anything else you might need, be sure to have all of this ready to go. Don't waste your time the day of searching for that annoying hard drive because you know you left it somewhere and you're pretty sure your husband moved it. Take time the week before to pull together all those items. That way when the day comes you can really get down to business. 

5. Reduce distractions. For this blog day I picked a day that I knew Kevin would be out of the house. Even though he's extremely supportive and helpful he can also be a huge distraction for me. Do you have someone like that? Send them away! Or ask nicely if they can go run errands or pick a day that they'll be out of the house for most of it. Get distracted by the TV and stuff like that? Maybe you should leave the house and go to the library. If you're like me where you need background sounds to work, pick ones that won't be so distracting like music without lyrics. 

6. Reward yourself. Now for this one we're going on the honor system but if you put in a good days work and accomplished all of the goals then be sure to reward yourself! Planning your reward ahead of time will give you something to look forward to as well. My plan, after I finish up the goals, is to reward myself with Pitch Perfect 2 and sushi from the awesome place we found near our apartment. Kevin will be out of town and it will be fun to give myself a treat after a productive blog day. Not a fan of dinner out? Give yourself the reward of that new sweater (hopefully on sale) you've been eyeing. 

I'd love to hear what tips you have for a successful blog day! My goal is to make this one a really productive day. 

10.21.2015

Back to the Future Day!!

Happy Back to the Future Day!



I'm sure you've seen the articles and posts already talking about how October 21, 2015 is Back to the Future day. Not often do we have a movie that is set in the future that actually arrives during our lifetime. Well at least during my lifetime!

I love looking at the movie and seeing what people thought it would be like today back in the 80's. Some things were definitely on the money ... some were not.


So I'm pretty sure if movie signage did this I would pee my pants all the time. I couldn't even handle horror films with something like this going on.


Pretty sure if the Cubs win the World Series this year this will be the reaction of everyone. Well maybe just the Sox fans ...


I could definitely get down with the whole hover board thing. You have to admit a lot of today's boards are moving more towards looking and moving like the hover board in the movie. It's only a matter of time! Plus it will give them time to figure out that whole pesky over water issue.


If re-hydrated food looks like that pizza I'm game. So far I've only tried re-hydrating stuff like dried fruit. Let's just say it was not a successful attempt by any means.


Video chat! That is one thing Back to the Future got totally right. People in long distance relationships everywhere thank the person for coming up with video chat.


Google glasses have made video glasses a thing that might actually be available for the general population soon.

While shoes that lace themselves up would be pretty wonderful, especially in the morning when bending over seems like the hardest thing in the world. I'm not a fan of the fashion going on in Back to the Future's 2015. Although is it irony that 80's styles are back in 2015?


We've had hologram performances by Tupac and Michael Jackson. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before there are more. I'm actually kind of surprised that Disney hasn't done something like this with Walt!


One thing was totally wrong in the movie is the heavy reliance on the fax machine. Do people even have fax machines anymore? I know someone in our IT department who didn't even know what the term "facsimile" meant.

 
For now pull up your Google hang outs and celebrate Back to the Future day with your favorite person via video chat because it's 2015 and you can!

Rock and roll!