Musings of a Museum Fanatic: August 2016


Lincoln Park Zoo

I shared the dinner at Chicago Brauhaus part of our Triple B day but that was just part of the fun! We ended up avoiding the Loop because of Lollapalooza and went up to Lincoln Park Zoo. The Lincoln Park Zoo sits in the Lincoln Park neighborhood right in the middle of Lincoln Park (the actual park). The zoo can trace it's start all the way back to 1868 with a pair of swans!!

Since then the zoo grew by leaps and bounds and has also been home to many animals including the famous Bushman. One of the best parts of the Lincoln Park Zoo is the fact that there is no admission cost!! So we definitely took advantage of that. 

I loved that it looks like the monkeys are holding tails.

Throughout the year the Lincoln Park Zoo hosts a number of different events but the most popular (at least in my opinion!) is ZooLights. Each winter Lincoln Park Zoo is decked out with fabulous lights all over the place. It is truly a magical winter wonderland.

This sign was everywhere! For some reason we found it hilarious .. I can't quite remember why! The hippo below was amazing. He swam right up to the window and looked like he was all about hanging out with us and the kids.

As I get into Snapchat (@MuseumFanatic) more and more I've really enjoyed finding the unique filters that spring up everywhere. While we were enjoying the crazy hippo this AMAZING filter popped up in this one two foot radius.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to enjoy wildlife right in the middle of the city!


Tips For Making Your Morning Quicker

With the summer comes altered pay periods or summer hours for a lot of people. I know I've been working longer hours to get that extra day off! That means earlier rise time and maybe not getting your act together quite as quickly. Even if you're not having to work longer hours you might still need some help getting out the door quicker in the morning.

Here are some things that I find really helpful.

1. Lay it out
On mornings where I'm showing and blow drying my hair I need all the time I can get it seems like I'm always standing in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear. That always seems to be a huge time suck. Instead I try to lay out my outfit for the next more. Lay out the entire outfit. If you want to wear jewelry lay that out as well. This has actually allowed me to wear jewelry more often, when I'm dashing to get dressed and ready I tend to not add on jewelry. That extra little bit of put together makes a huge difference in your appearance and confidence!

2. Food prep
Food prep is probably the one area that Kevin and I are so inconsistent on. Some weeks we rock it out and food prep all the food but then some weeks we don't do any. When I say food prep for making your morning quicker I'm referring to lunches. I try to have a serving of fruit and veggies with my lunch so I attempt to have these elements ready to go since they can take up valuable sleeping minutes. Watermelon is a summertime staple in our house and not only to I make sure to cut it up but I take time to make my lunch portions. It doesn't take any more time to put out the big container and the little ones to fill. Do the same thing for the veggies.

3. Take away choices
Making choices is one of the bigger time sucks in the morning. You pick your outfit, you choose what you want for breakfast, etc. etc. Don't give yourself choices and you'll be good to go much quicker!

4. Have a back up 
As I've mentioned already sometimes I'm not the most prepared but I am prepared for being unprepared. Yup you read that right. I realize that sometimes I'll be sick of the fresh fruit I've grabbed for the week or I just don't have the chance to prepare. With that being said I always love to have things like unsweetened applesauce or grapefruit in juice in the fridge. That way I'm always good to go when it comes to my lunch.

4. Don't turn on the phone
This is one area I have yet to master. I am consistently getting sucked in to something on my phone in the morning. Whether is looking through Bloglovin to see what everyone posted last night or getting sucked into Facebook. When I get ready in the morning I love to listen to one of my Pandora stations so I look at my phone. I need to just force myself not to keep looking!

5. Enlist help (if you can)
I know that not everyone has the ability to do this but if you can do it! Since Kevin gets up first he wakes me up (much nicer than an alarm) and I've asked him to wake me up a little earlier each day. If you have someone who you can ask for help, like turning on your music when you wake up so you don't have to get sucked into Facebook, do it! Whether it's a spouse, family member, roomie or friend don't be afraid to ask for help. Maybe they need help with something too!

6. 5 Minute Rule
If you can take care of it in 5 minutes the night before do it!

7. Sleep in on the front end
This is something that Dad always used to tell me. He was really good at following this rule, so good he would fall asleep during the shows at 7pm! Instead of staying up for that extra half an hour where you're just mindlessly surfing the web get ready and go to be early. Trust Dad on this one.

What tips do you have for making your morning quicker?


Crab & Shrimp Boil

A couple weeks ago Kevin and I celebrated his mom's birthday with a special dinner. We decided to check off hosting a boil from my 101 list while celebrating her birthday. Since Chicago is in the middle of the continent seafood tends to be more expensive so I tried to follow the sales and we ended up with shrimp and crab on sale for the boil.

The funniest part of this is a week and a half before the dinner we had dinner with my family and it ended up being a delicious shrimp boil. So I decided to take what Bethany did and just use different ingredients.

I used the timings I found on this Old Bay Shrimp Boil Recipe on I did switch around the corn and sausage times. Since I was using a packaged one like Eckrich that didn't need as much cooking time.

Overall the flavors were really good. We all LOVED how the crab came out and agreed next time we probably wouldn't even need the shrimp. Also Kevin and I decided we could go with a loaf of bread on the side instead of potatoes. My favorite parts were the crab, sausage & corn. I loved how the Old Bay Seasoning and the butter flavored the corn. It was delicious.

The crab boil is definitely a new Glenn favorite!


Lunch in Oz Park with West Elm & Snap Kitchen

This weekend I finally was able to join other members of the Windy city Blogger Collective for an event. Earlier in the weekend is got the invite for a summer lunch in Oz Park located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The lunch was hosted by West Elm Chicago and Snap Kitchen.

I thought this was going to be a casual picnic get together but was stunned at the beautiful decor and spread. West Elm Chicago went all out with the beautiful tables and the fun seating area. 

I loved the hurricane lamps with the flameless candles. They were beautiful. Unfortunately in our house we try and stay away from glass since Kevin tends to knock it over at some point and usually break or chip it! There are a couple friends who I know would love them though.

Like the decor, the food was anything but typical picnic. Snap Kitchen brought out a lovely spread of salads and sandwiches. 

As I usually do when I encounter such a delicious looking spread, I made sure to get a little taste of everything. My favorite was the Summer Fling salad which I paired with their vinaigrette with chopped almond crusted chicken. The salad doesn't usually pair with that dressing but I thought it was a perfect match. I found out that in addition to the Chicago locations there is one out in Naperville as well. Will definitely be adding it to the family's to try list.

The hibiscus lime tea they sent me off with was the perfect refresher for the rest of the afternoon.

Saturday in the park with West Elm Chicago, Snap Kitchen and other Windy City Bloggers was a great way to spend part of the day!