Musings of a Museum Fanatic: December 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?


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?


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.

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.

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.

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!


Happy Birthday Mom!!

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


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!