Musings of a Museum Fanatic: August 2015

8.31.2015

Elevate Mobile Fitness' 14 Days to Fit Lifestyle Jumpstart

**I was give an premium membership free of charge to review. All opinions are mine alone.**

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity through the Windy City Blogger Collective to check out an online tool for your fitness, Elevate Mobile Fitness and the 14 Days to Fit Lifestyle Jumpstart. 14 Days to Fit is a two-week motivational program to really help get you and your fitness journey started.

Mariah, a certified personal trainer & yoga instructor, realized that many diseases, especially chronic ones, could be avoided just by having better nutrition and more exercise. In response to this revelation she developed a motivational program that helps to bridge that gap of you know the information now do it. The program is perfect when you're on the go and trying to fit just a little bit into your schedule.  

I was lucky enough to try out the Premium version but if you'd like to check it out first there is a free version as well. With the Premium version you get access to all 14 motivational videos, plus the following: daily text message workout reminders, a full-length workout video, and two special video trainings on the topics of “Fast-Tracking Healthy Meal-Planning and Prep,” and “Eating Healthy on the Go”

Lately it seems like I'm always running around doing something and I never have time to focus on myself or my fitness/weight loss goals. The videos in the 14 Days to Fit premium version were perfect. They were short and to the point. I was able to take time and watch them along with doing most of the quick little homework assignments! I don't use Facebook for this type of group thing so for me I would personally prefer another way to connect, with those groups I always find I miss everything worth seeing and don't ever get the right notifications. For me the videos and the homework were great tools.

I actually ended up having my husband be my accountability buddy instead of the group. This was great for him too since he's needed some motivation lately as well. Without sharing too much of Mariah's good motivation I thought the videos gave good motivation and had enough practical approach to be put into action very easily. We both thought the easy steps that Mariah lays out in the videos were easy to follow and, probably the most important part, maintain!!

One part I really enjoyed was the 20 minute workout. It was simple and you didn't need any equipment! That was my favorite part. I would love to have more of the workout aspect connected to the motivational part. Simple moves that can be added each day or something like that. One other issue I had was not with the content but the videos themselves, the way the video was taped and the music playing over the video made it a little hard to hear what was being said at times.

Overall I really enjoyed the 14 Days to Fit Lifestyle Jumpstart. The motivational videos really did the trick and have got me going again with my fitness. I'll be repeating the process again just to keep it up that's for sure. You should definitely check it out!

8.26.2015

101 in 1001 list recap


November 1, 2012 my wonderful friend Stephanie peer pressured me into another thing ... starting my own 101 in 1001 list. Looking at that date, November 1, 2012, it's amazing how much my life has changed since I started this list. I got married, moved to a totally different part of Chicagoland, Kevin went through job trouble multiple times, I finally got a full time job, I lost my Dad, we sold our condo, we moved ... just to name a couple of things!

Even through all these crazy big and small life changes it's been kinda awesome to have this constant goal to work towards. I've learned a lot about myself through the process of the 101 list. I haven't been updating much about the list the past few months since I was coming up to the end of my time.

The biggest one I was able to accomplish was our trip to Dallas to visit Uncle Mike. Check it out in Part One & Part Two of my trip recap. This one along with accomplishing my visit to Becky wherever she was living were two I wasn't sure I'd be able to get done. With Becky moving to South Bend this one ended up being much easier plus I was able to take the Amtrak home! I actually like the seating much better than the Metra. The big stunner of a check off was the selling of our condo. I am still surprised after all the crazy that we aren't homeowners and it's amazing.

Overall I feel pretty good that I got 52% of the list accomplished and I have another 13% that's in progress that I'd like to finish. Looking back at my first list and the tasks I set out for myself I feel good about how much I accomplished. There were quite a few tasks that were probably more time consuming and cost more money wise than I gave time for. Keeping this in mind I feel good about what all I was able to take care of.

This month I've been rocking the crap out of my new list. I've already crossed off my gallery wall task and I'm well on the way to getting some of the other tasks accomplished. The new list seems a little bit easier than the first in some aspects but I really wanted to set goals I not only wanted to accomplish but actually could.

8.24.2015

Dear Persons of My Facebook ...

Dear younger female relative of mine ... The duck face is over. Pretty sure that was over at least a year ago now, if it was ever cool. Also I don't need to see half a dozen of the same photo of you giving said duck face. Really? I feel like after two of the same photos it gets a little narcissistic. You're an adult stop it.

Dear people saying "hubbehh" ... this is not even a word. Respect your husband and say it properly. You're an adult and it's not cute. Stop it before I smack you.

Dear people who feel the need to post every hour and sometimes twice an hour ... seriously? That is ridiculous. You work I know you do, are you even accomplishing anything at work? Also maybe instead of sharing everything under the sun that other people share, make some original content!! I'm pretty sure you have it in you to do so. Also you can stop posting Timewarps of asinine things like the lunch you had a year ago. No one cares.

Dear Promoted Posts ... what is this crap? It's never anything I am interested. Maybe if you stalk me like the side bar ads are obviously doing it would be worth your time and money but alas you're not. Slacker. Please go find someone else to bug.

Dear anyone who has anything to do with going back to school ... we realize it's the fall and school is starting we don't need multiple posts every day about it. To those who aren't doing that, thank you!

Dear Facebook ... we need to talk about my newsfeed. Stop messing with it! I keep changing it so I can see my awesome people and not see so much ridiculousness but it somehow keeps getting switched back. Stop that. It's annoying. Yes you're getting some major side eye right now.

8.18.2015

Crab Stuffed Chicken

This past week I was totally zonked out from getting all of my wisdom teeth out and I was definitely missing real food. I realized part way through the week that it had been a while since I tried a new recipe and thought what a perfect time to get started on a recipe from each of my Pinterest boards that kinda freaks me out! Stuffed anything has always been a bit scary for me since I don't want to give myself or anyone eating the meal food poisoning. I came across this recipe from A Cookbook Obsession and it looked wonderful.

We ended up really loving the flavor of the filling and since I have enough ingredients left will probably do this recipe again. I bet it would work well with other main proteins.



Ingredients: 
2 ounces cream cheese (1/4th of an 8-oz block), softened
1 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp minced onion or scallion
2 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh dill (or ½ tsp dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon zest
4 oz lump crabmeat
salt and black pepper, to taste
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
¼ C seasoned dry breadcrumbs
non-stick cooking spray

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.




2. Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl. Gently fold in crab. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.


3. Cut horizontally through the center of each chicken breast, creating a pocket, being careful not to cut all the way through at any point.


4. Fill each pocket with equal amounts of the stuffing. Secure with toothpicks. Dredge each piece of chicken in the breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet. Spray the breadcrumbs with cooking spray to moisten.

5. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes or until cooked through to 165 degrees in the center of the filling. Remove toothpicks and serve.








8.13.2015

OYSY Sushi


Jackie and I have been lucky the past year to have a few times during the week when we've been able to meeting up for lunch downtown. She turned me on to this great River North Japanese restaurant that's just around the block from her work and my new favorite meal, the bento box.

OYSY Sushi  is located at Grand & Rush just a block west of Michigan and two blocks east of the Grand Red Line station. A great small restaurant tucked behind Eately, this is a perfect lunch spot for your on the go work day. Jackie turned me on to their $13 lunch bento box which includes a main dish plus California Maki, Spicy Tuna Maki, Shrimp and Veg Tempura, Edamame, Japanese Green Salad and Miso Soup.


I've always gotten the Chicken Teriyaki and she always opts for the Salmon Teriyaki. Jackie was kind enough the first time to let me try a bite of her salmon and it was fabulous. If I didn't love the chicken so much I'd definitely get the salmon.



 While I've never branched out and tried any of the other main dishes or other sushi items if the two rolls are any indication the rest of the sushi is just as good. The Spicy Tuna Maki has just enough spice without killing your taste buds for the rest of the plate and the California Maki always has two of my favorite fresh roll ingredients, crab and cucumber.


 I really enjoy the entire bento but my favorite item is probably the tempura Veg and Shrimp. Who can go wrong with anything fried? I've had veggie tempura at places where the veggies were still too crunchy but at OYSY they're perfectly cooked and hit just the right level of softness.

Next time you're in need of lunch a well priced delicious lunch in River North check out OYSY Sushi.

8.11.2015

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,


Dr. C. has said I should write you a letter for a while now and it's been hard to sit down and write.

I miss you so much.

It's weird, things feel like you're just gone on a longer business trip. Like I haven't seen you in a while. Even though it feels weird I much prefer that feeling to the empty one that creeps up way too often. I miss just being able to call or message you and you were always just there to talk to. The past few years that became such an main part of my day there are still times when I find myself alone thinking it would be the perfect time to just call you up and chat.

This year has had some major ups and downs. Lane has been a wonderful, chubby little blessing. I love being an aunt and godmother, it's a pretty awesome thing. Wish you could see Kevin hang out with Lane. At first he was so scared to even hold him but since Lane got a little bigger Kevin has a new BFF.

I already had a picture in my head of Bethany as a mom but am floored every time I see Lou with Lane. I guess since I'm his little sister I never could imagine him in that role. Seeing them together makes me think of you every time. You showed us both what an amazing dad is and Lou shows this all the time. It saddens me that you're not here to hear all Lane's goofy little sounds and hold him. I think about it a lot how much of a wonderful grandfather you would be. Whenever those thoughts pop up I try and give Lane a little more love and a few more hugs.

The ups this year have been amazing and I wish you were here to see them. I can't believe how things have worked out with my job. You would be so proud of how hard I was working through the stress of the previous Director, finally getting my promotion and now being the acting Director. Crazy that I'm in charge of things for the moment. You would probably tell me that you knew I could do it or that it was only a matter of time. Can you believe that we actually sold the condo and it only took a few months. I still can't believe it. Of course there were issues but it sold.

We all miss you so much. The Family Reunion this year was in Ely again and definitely had some tough moments for me. I talked with everyone about what I want to do with the family history. I wish I had taken more of interest in it before, I'm sorry for that because I know you wanted to share more of it with me. I hate that I had to put in this date a year ago for you, that was not a date I wanted to fill in for a long time. Hopefully I can pick up where you left off and do some awesome things with the family history that would make you proud.

Kelli told me a while ago that it doesn't get easier but does get a little less hard as time goes on. I hope she's right. I love you so much and miss you every single day.

Betsy


8.06.2015

Changes


I realize things around here lately have been a little sporadic and not my usual awesomeness. I apologize for that! About a month ago now I was looking around my little blog space and realized it was time to clean things up and improve things around here. The tabs at the top don't really define my blog well like they should, the archives is way on the bottom right, etc. etc.

So in my usual let's get down to business (to defeat the Huns) manor I've been working on tweaking things around here. Might have noticed that over the weekend my design got a lovely facelift by the awesome Kailyn. She was fantastic to work with, even though I probably drove her nuts re-designing my header I think half a dozen times.

There are still some things that need to be sorted out, I'm going to be changing up how posts get labeled, some how I can't get Disqus to connect again and more little things like that. Since this weekend I'll be recovering from getting all my wisdom teeth later this morning hopefully I'll be able to get some of these issues taken care of! 

8.03.2015

Dallas Part 2

Now we're going to head back south and finish up Kevin and my 4th of July trip to visit Uncle Mike in Dallas. Check out part one from a few weeks ago too ... there might be awesome BBQ photos ... and by might I mean there are awesome BBQ photos.

The 4th of July started of visiting the Perot Museum of Natural History. Since I'm a crazy museum person I naturally did an entire post dedicated to our visit! Definitely on the list to visit again next time we're there, hopefully during a school day when there are less kids! Uncle Mike ended up having to show some houses that morning so we were on our own and met up with him for lunch.

Yes we went to another BBQ place. Seriously though who goes to Texas and only eats at one BBQ place? Crazy people that's who! Along with Pecan Lodge, Lockhart Smokehouse was the other BBQ place that ended up on everyone's list it seems. So of course we're going to check it out! It was fabulous and I'm pretty sure I could eat that mac & cheese every day. I'd weigh 500 lbs but it might just be worth it. After lunch we meandered through the Bishop Arts District, snagged some ice cream and then headed back to Uncle Mike's apartment in the Design District.

Checking to see if we might be able to see the fireworks from the top of Uncle Mike's building

The rest of the afternoon was spent just hanging out, talking, watching Woodstock and waiting for dinner and the fireworks to roll around. Yup, we watched the entirety of Woodstock. If you know me you'd actually be surprised that I've never seen the whole thing. Between the three of us and our totally different tastes in movies that was all we could agree on! It was nice because at times we'd just tune it out and talk. With Uncle Mike living so far away and all of us having such busy schedules it makes it hard to keep up with life sometimes.

Plus having so much chat time we definitely heard some hilarious stories. Like Kevin's dad's friends getting him drop down drunk on his 21st. Which was also the night Uncle Mike (who is the younger one and I'm guessing wasn't 21!) got so drunk, ate too many black olives and ... well I think we've all been there right? Let's just say black olives are not a food he enjoys anymore.


After a wonderful steak dinner and more hang out time we finally decided to brave the crazy and go see the fireworks at Fair Park. We should have left earlier. Traffic on the highways was Chicago style with major back ups and accidents all over. We ended up getting off on the side streets and attempting to get closer that way. In the end we just pulled over and joined the crazy amount of people just watching from parking lots and shooting off their own fireworks in the middle of the streets. The street shows ended up being better than the real show! From what we could see the fireworks only lasted 10 minutes. It was crazy and a bit disappointed when this was touted as the big Dallas show.




We ended up going back to the top of the building and just checking out the skyline. It was a great view. Ended up getting a couple of nice shots of downtown all lit up. I really like the second photo with the American flag on Reunion Tower. Turned out very nice!

Sunday I actually ended up sleeping in, which for me these days means 8! We did a late brunch at a killer Tex-Mex restaurant, Fernando's Mexican Cuisine. Favorite part? The $2.50 drink special that goes on during brunch. Seriously who can beat that deal for mimosas and bloody Marys? The tacos I had were a knock out too with their melt in your mouth chicken and crisp, fresh shells. Their terrace had a wonderful cross breeze going and it was just a nice little place. Definitely will be adding that to my go again list.

Since we didn't have too much time before we needed to get to the airport Uncle Mike showed us around a bit more. We ended up visit the Southern Methodist University campus and stopping by the Gamma Phi Beta house. I actually got the courage to go up to the house and see if we could look around. Unfortunately there wasn't anyone there but  I did get to see the outside and the campus which was very nice.



Our trip ended with a nice little 7 minute trek through check in and security at the airport then we were on our way back home. I am so glad we ended up booking the trip it was such a great weekend hanging out the two of us and with Uncle Mike. Can't wait until our next visit to Dallas!