Musings of a Museum Fanatic: November 2016


Pampered Chef Holiday 2016 Products

Every year for the holiday season Pampered Chef rolls out some awesome products just for the season. The 2016 products are not only beautiful but groundbreaking ones for Pampered Chef as well.

Yes this holiday season is a groundbreaking one for Pampered Chef. This holiday season Pampered Chef released their first electronic product! The Electric Wine Opener is the perfect product to be the first and its the perfect product for the wine aficionado in your life. In addition to making popping of your favorite bottle super easy the fact that it lights up when in action makes it so you can enjoy it any time of the day or night!

The are several products this holiday season that are perfect for your wine connoisseur. While I'm sure the Wine Aerator is perfect for some I love the Wine Glass Markers. Mostly because you don't just have to write people's names on the glasses you can go crazy and draw whatever you like. 

Now we come to my favorite products this holiday season! The serving pieces. I've said this the past couple of years but I think this years' pieces are my favorites. The clean, beautiful Serving Boards are perfect for anyone. They match perfectly with each other and the other accessory pieces and with their clean look will pair well with what you already have in your house.

I love this time of year because Pampered Chef releases several special sets of both the holiday products and products found in the catalog. Not only is it gift giving made simple with these sets but they are always slightly cheaper than purchasing the products separately. For those sets and other fun holiday products head to my Pampered Chef website

You'll also find a Holiday section with recipes, gift ideas, entertaining ideas and much more in the holiday section!


The Field of Screams Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt by Watson Adventures

** I approached Watson Adventures to write a post in exchange for a free ticket to their scavenger hunt. All opinions are my own**

Earlier this spring Kevin tried to surprise me for my birthday with an awesome cultural thing he discovered. Unfortunately it didn't end up working out but I thought it would be great for us to do in the future. What is this awesome mystery culture thing you say? Watson Adventures! Watson Adventures is a company that specializes in fun and crazy scavenger hunts that take place in museums and other cultural locations. For public tours you can find them in seven major U.S. cities but private and corporate tours can take place almost anywhere!

Watson Adventures was really great to work with. I had some issues with the first date we booked and they were great about working with me and rescheduling for a later date. Of course I picked the one that was at the Field Museum!

So finally this past weekend we headed downtown to meet up with the rest of our fellow hunters. As we hopped on to a jam packed bus we quickly realized that the green clad people we saw in the north part of the Loop weren't just out to the pubs, they were all heading to Soldier's Field for the rugby match. This made for a stressful start to the tour, we ended up hopping off the bus before we even hit the part and hoofed it to the south side of the Field Museum. We ended up being late and a couple of the other participants were late as well. This made for a rushed and somewhat flustered start to our hunt.

Since everyone was slightly flustered because of the crazy we started off the hunt somewhat confused. Working together Kevin and I quickly got the hang of what we were supposed to do. So we were off!

Even though at first Kevin was a little "oh my gosh she's dragging me on another museum/cultural thing" he quickly got into it. We ended up zipping around the permanent exhibits at the Field Museum. Having interned there for three years helped a little bit when looking for specific artifacts in the exhibits but even without that previous knowledge Watson Adventures spells out in the directions quite well where you're supposed to go.

There is always time for a selfie with Sue!

Working our way through questions to help us figure out the answers to the mystery we worked together, argued a little and figured out most of them! We headed back and met up with the other groups. Surprisingly even though we didn't figure out two of the more important questions we still came in second place. The winning couple had participated in several of the other Watson Adventures (which they said were awesome and I can't wait to try them) so I'm not entirely sure they weren't ringers .... just saying .... : )

The adventure ended with more chaos in the Stanley Field Hall since they were setting up for a wedding. This threw everyone off their game and I don't remember our guide actually telling us in the end who the killer was!?

Kevin and I both had a BLAST on our Field of Screams Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt by Watson Adventures. I'm totally all about doing another. One of the best parts of Watson Adventures is that so many of them are inside. Which means when it's below freezing in Chicago this winter you can enjoy an awesome Chicago moment without freezing your butt off.  Seriously this is a great one of a kind experience.

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful un-staged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!


Favorite Chicago Instagrams

I'm a really visual person. I love looking at recipes with photos, large coffee table books with lots of beautiful photos and other similar visual things. So of course my two favorite social media platforms are Pinterest and Instagram. You really can't go wrong with an awesomely mouth watering image of a dish from that must try restaurant or some beautiful must visit locale.

Since Chicago has some amazing views and great eats I though it only appropriate that I share some of my favorite Chicago view & nosh Instagram accounts that you should be following too! Check out these and for more awesome ones check out my Instagram.

The Chicago Pulse

Choose Chicago



312 Food

Eat The Burbs

Like Food Chicago

Fab Food Chicago

Now that I've shared my favorites what are you favorite Chicago instagrams?! I always need to add more to my list.


Curried Chicken

​Even though I seem to have lots of food issues I'm always up for trying new dishes or something new. The past couple of years Kevin and I have added Indian food to our list of foods we really enjoy. We took it up a notch and have been making our own versions at home. Well at least our own version of curried chicken.

What really got us started was this Curried Potatoes with Poached Eggs recipe by Budget Bytes. This super easy curry dish was good with potatoes but with Kevin being all about meat we decided to adapt it. Since in the recipe you cook the potatoes and sauce separately then mix it together it adapts really well to switching up the protein.

Using my Pampered Chef 12" Steamer we seasoned the chicken with curry powder to give the dish a little more kick and flavor overall. Then using the Salad Chopper (legit best thing for shredding your chicken) to shred/dice up the chicken while the sauce was finishing up.

The adaptation to the recipe couldn't be any easier. Since we like to make the whole meal an experience we grab fresh naan or frozen, and Trader Joe's Palak Paneer. This time I also went crazy a splurged on veggie samosas from Trader Joe's as well.

This homemade curried chicken dinner couldn't be any easier!


10 Things That Happened Lately

Just when you think that life is going to slow down it totally speeds up. This fall went by in lightening speed for me. It's just been one thing after another! So much has been happening that I've been slightly too busy to post and have had way too much happening to share it all. So I thought I'd play a little catch up and share 10 awesome things that have happened this fall. 

1. Ladies and Lane Weekend
We started off September with a Ladies and Lane weekend, Becky and I stayed with my Mom over Labor Day weekend while Lou & Bethany took a quick weekend to D.C. It was a fun and exhausting weekend! There were multiple visits to parks, the Morton Arboretum, a night out with 'Stache, birthday celebrations and ending with the annual watching of the library ladies in the Naperville Labor Day parade. 

2. Formal Work Portrait
The Visual Communications department at work hooked me up and took some awesome professional photos of me for professional museum things. They turned out lovely!

I was the sponsor/Big Sis for our alumnae initiate Rena, so this summer I walked her through learning all about Gamma Phi Beta. Which ended in September with her being initiated. 

4. Wisconsin Weekend
I finally got back up to the cottage in Wisconsin for a relaxing weekend of fishing. It was not a good fishing weekend for anyone but I at least caught a little guy. 

5. IAM Conference & Board of Directors
So I was keeping this news a secret, I probably didn't need to but oh well ha. At the end of this summer I was notified that I was nominated by peers in the museum field to be on the Board of Directors for the Illinois Association of Museums. Needless to say I was floored and honored that several people would think I'm someone who should do something like that. 

The official voting in (which really seemed like a formality) by the membership was done the end of September at the annual IAM conference. I was really excited to attend the conference, it was held in Oak Park, IL and I got the opportunity to visit a number of cultural institutions that I haven't been to before. My favorite was getting a tour of the Garfield Park Conservatory with the Chicago Park District historian, she was awesome and had some great stories. 

6.  Chicago Open Archives Chicago Open House 
I know I already posted about Chicago Open Archives 2016 so I'll let you head over to that post and take a look at that. Chicago Open House is the same concept but getting to take a behind the scenes look at some amazing architecture. There will be more posts showing those to come soon!

7. Murder Mystery Dinner
I finally got to cross that one off my 101 list! We were both really excited for this event. Thanks to a Groupon we were able to have a fun night on a budget. The whole evening was lots of fun with our whole table working together to figure out whodunnit. In the end it was the person at our table!!

8. I Love the 90's Concert
The tickets for this concert were purchased waaaaay back in April so Becky, Kevin and I had six months to think about how much we were going to enjoy this show. There was a bit of a disappointment when the sound turned out to be pretty terrible for most of the show but the three of us made sure we enjoyed the evening anyway. Coolio came down and ran around the audience, women were grinding up on an older Tone Loc, Salt N' Pepa rocked it and Vanilla Ice had the oddest stage decorations I've seen. It was a great night!

9. 1893 World's Fair tour with Chicago Detours
It was awesome. Read about it here!

10. Halloween Party
Kevin and I got to help Stephanie check something of her 101 list, she hosted a Legends of the Hidden Temple Halloween party this year. Kevin survived Hawkeye (her dog) for about three hours, which I was quite impressed and happy about. While Kevin and John stayed upstairs to talk and watch baseball (Go Cubs!!) the rest of us were downstairs in the basement playing drinking games. I only got a couple of photo from the evening, which I know as a blogger is terrible!! We were just having too much fun haha.

 WHEW! I'm tired just thinking about everything we've done the past two months. So that's just some of what's been going on by me lately! The rest of the season is going to be just as busy too : ) What's been some of your favorite happenings this fall?