Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 2018

12.28.2018

Highs and Lows of 2018

It's hard to believe that 2018 is coming to a close on Sunday. The years seem to be going by on warp speed but days feel like years. I wanted to take some time to reflect on the past year and share some of my highs and lows of 2018 before getting my mind ready for a new calendar year! What were the best highs and lows of your 2018? Sound off in the comments!


Charleston Trip
Kevin and I had a blast this past year during our 4th of July trip to Charleston. We ate amazing food, saw some amazing sights and all around had just a great trip. Charleston had been on my trip list for a while so it was wonderful to cross it off the list. Although I definitely did not get to see everything I wanted to see so I'm pretty sure we'll be going back at some time. 

Weight gain
This unfortunately wasn't something that happened just in 2018 but it really came to a head for me this year. It wasn't just that I had gained weight I wasn't doing well overall in my healthy habits, or lack thereof I decided that I needed to take control of this fall. So I started up Weight Watchers again. I've been really enjoying the new program and I'm at an 8 lb. loss. So really this is a low point that starting to turn into a high point for me. 



Baby G the 3rd
In October we welcomed Juliette Elyse into the family! I know it's definitely been an adjustment for my brother and sister in law with three in the house now but she's such a cute little bundle we'll keep her. It was fun hanging out with her at Christmas since she's smiling and making faces now. She is starting to get a personality and I'm all for it. 




Old 101 list
I said good bye to my second 101 list. It's always tough for something to come to a close. I feel pretty good since I got 65 of the 101 list completed. I wanted to do more but sometimes life ya know. 


New 101 List


With every old list comes a new one! Starting a new 101 list is always a breath of fresh air a time for a new beginning. I've hit the ground running and have a number of items well in progress. I've even completed 7 at this time! While it's not as many as soooome people I am still very proud of what I've checked off and what I have in good progress at the moment. 

Friend loss 
As we grow older we can grow closer to people in our lives but sometimes we can grow apart. Unfortunately that's what happened this year in my life. I realized that certain friends no longer had time for me and were even influenced by others to stop being my friend. I'm not sure why that was but unfortunately it happened. I was really upset about it for a long time but I got to the point earlier this year where I decided not to let it make me upset anymore. 

Kevin's new job


August brought with it a new job for Kevin! He is still working in the sign industry as a project manager but this company has already been treating him way better. Recently they've even been talking about him working up to the next position by August. Overall he is so much happier with this company and in this position. 

I got a new job
I had been looking for a new position for a while now and finally something happened. Boy did it ever happen. Within just over two weeks I had applied, had multiple interviews and gave my notice. I started on the 17 and I will say it's been a bit of a low since the transition has been a rough one for me. Over the years I've realized that stress manifests itself in my stomach and the rest of my body. The past two weeks have been a little tough for me so in my free time I've been trying to take it easy. Hence why I've been so quiet on here and Instagram. 



Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

12.12.2018

Earn Big Cash Back on your Christmas Shopping

***This post may contain affiliate links***

As we quickly approach Christmas, Swagbucks knows you still have lots of shopping to do, and they're offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before January 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

12.10.2018

11 Photos to Celebrate Mom

Tomorrow we get to wish my Mom a very happy birthday! I thought what better way that to share 11 of my favorite photos of her and me throughout the years. From me as a cute baby to our wedding day I love the times I've spent with my Mom. Happy Birthday Mom!!












Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

12.08.2018

Earn BIG with Coupons!

***This post may contain affiliate links ***

We're all looking for ways to save big at the register. Well, I've found a way to make every coupon I use at my local grocery store worth an extra 25¢!

How you ask? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!

1) Sign up at Swagbucks.com
2) Head over to the Grocery Coupons page and start clipping coupons for your upcoming shopping trip 
3) Use the coupons the next time you shop at your local grocery store. You'll earn 25 points (25¢) for every coupon you use. 

That's it! 

But, that's not all... Today through Wednesday, December 12th, you can earn 2 points (2¢) for every coupon you print, up to 50 prints per day. That's an extra dollar every day just for printing coupons that will save you a ton on your next grocery store haul!

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

12.05.2018

10 Awesome Illinois House Museums


Historic house museums are some of the best museums out there and some of my favorite places to visit. When you visit a historic house museums a lot of times you get to step back in time and really see what life was like during a certain time period. They are great for that transportation that I love in a museum. Illinois has some amazing house museums!! 

When I say historic house museum you might be thinking that they're all stuffy houses from that turn of the century time period. When it comes to house museums there are so many different kinds. From those 19th century Victorian beauties to modern homes that you would think are out of a space novel. Here's my must visit list for Illinois house museums. 


Glessner House
Chicago
The Glessner House is one of Chicago's big daddy house museums.. If you're looking for a gorgeous example of how a house museum should be with fun events like a haunted tour later this month then look no further. This architectural gem is not to miss. If you're still jonesing for more beautiful historic homes the Clarke House Museum is just around the corner. 

Farnsworth House
Plano
You'll find this Mies van der Rohe beauty about an hour outside of Chicago tucked along the Fox River. While it might stick out like a sore thumb at first you'll soon learn all about the International Style and it's relationship to it's surroundings. 

Driehaus Museum
Chicago
I will admit Driehaus might be one of my favorite house museums to visit. It's actually called the Nickerson Mansion. The interior is exquisite, I mean come it wasn't referred to as the "Marble Palace" for nothing! It's a must add to any Chicago trip. 

Ellwood House Museum
DeKalb
Who know that barbed wire could be so interesting and profitable?? You'll learn all about Isaac Ellwood, his family and his business legacy. One tip I'll share is to make sure to visit around the holidays so you can take a tour when the house is all dolled up for the season. Don't believe me check out their Instagram photos from this past winter, so beautiful. 

Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Springfield
You had to know I couldn't make a list of best Illinois house museums without putting in the Lincoln Home right? I first visited the home while on a grad school trip. It's amazing to think of the life Lincoln led while living here in Springfield before heading to Washington. If you could only visit one house museum because of it's importance to Illinois history this might have to be the one I would suggest.  

James Millikin Homestead
Decatur
James was a business from Decatur who would later go on to found Millikin University. This amazing Italianate house was built for him in 1876. I would highly recommend visiting during the Christmas season, seeing it all decked out I can only imagine what it looks like in person!

Magnolia Manor
Cairo
Southern Illinois tends to be forgotten when it comes to visiting Illinois but there is so much to see and do in the southern part of the state! You can find beautiful hidden gems like the Magnolia Manor. This 14 room brick mansion was originally the home of Cairo milling merchant, Charles A. Galigher. 

Dana Thomas House
Springfield
This is another wonderful historic home that I got the chance to see during grad school. This house contains the largest site specific and original Wright designed furniture. If I remember correctly it's something like at least 80% of the house in the original furniture and glass Wright designed. This is definitely a must visit for any Wright or architecture lover. 

Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home
Dixon
Illinois was the birth home to many an impressive personage. We can even claim to be the home of three presidents, one of which was Ronald Reagan. You'll find his boyhood home in Dixon, IL. This is just one of several homes he lived in during his childhood in Dixon but you'll find all sorts of information about his early years. Not sure you'll be able to visit? They've got you covered with a virtual tour!

Dowling House
Galena
When you visit Galena there is so much that can grab your attention! For a different view of Illinois history you'll want to visit the Dowling House. This former trade post hosted many fur traders throughout the years. Take a break from the mansions and enjoy learning about what trade was like in this mining town.

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

12.03.2018

34 Christmas Movies to Binge Watch Right NOW!

34 Christmas Movies to Binge Watch Right NOW!

Now that Thanksgiving is over we can stop tiptoeing around Christmas and be fully out in the open about our Christmas movie addiction. As we all know Christmas movies are the best any time of the year but of course watching them this time of year there is just something so magical about them. So obviously it's time to binge on them 24/7 right?

A Christmas Prince

How Sarah Got Her Wings 

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The Spirit of Christmas 

Nightmare Before Christmas

A Christmas Story




How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Merry Kissmas

Miracle on 34th Street

Christmas Crush

Frosty the Snowman



Christmas with the Kranks

Dear Santa

The Princess Switch

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation



Christmas in the Smokies

Christmas in Connecticut

Mickey's Christmas Carol

Jingle All the Way

Desperately Seeking Santa

Love at the Christmas Table

Charlie Brown Christmas

It's a Wonderful Life

The Santa Clause
Holiday Inn

Home Alone

Elf 

Muppet Christmas Carol

Home Alone 2



Scrooged

White Christmas

I'll Be Home for Christmas

Love Actually

The Polar Express

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

11.30.2018

Quick Guide to Christmas in Chicago

 

Christmas time in Chicago is one of the best times of year! It's that sweet time when the winter weather is fresh and lovely before the long winter sets in. Everyone seems to be happy and smiling as they go through the city. There are lights, snow and hot chocolate to be found everywhere. I've got your quick guide to really enjoying the holiday season in Chicago. 

The best part about enjoying Christmas lights is that they're all over the place and there are so many spectacular ones throughout the city and suburbs. For one stop shopping for lights I would recommend heading to Lincoln Park Zoo or Brookfield Zoo. While you might have to enjoy the lights with lots of your new friends you won't be disappointed in the sights. 


Walnut Room

Since 1905 the Walnut Room has been entertaining people during the holidays. It's most well known for it's iconic, gorgeous tree in the middle of the restaurant. They don't take reservations during the holidays so you'll have to get there early to put your name down but it's definitely worth the wait! Kevin and I are hoping to have lunch here during our staycation this year. Tried last year but underestimated that there would be that many people. I highly recommend the Frango Mint Ice Cream Pie, it's pretty life altering.  


Enjoy the decorations
Chicago usually is decorated for whatever holiday is happening but there is nothing like the city being all decked out for Christmas. There are massive window displays at stores like Macy's and Christmas decorations in the greenery put out by the city to lights in everyone's windows. Plus when everything is covered by the lovely white December snow there is nothing quite like it. I always enjoy just strolling around taking in the beauty. You can really enjoy it in any neighborhood too it's not limited to just the Loop.

Tea at the Drake

You'll find all sorts of lovely holiday teas around the city. For the grand daddy of Chicago holiday teas you'll want to check out the tea at the Drake. The ornate Palm Court looks every more amazing when all decked out for Christmas. You're going to feel like you've stepped into another world. It's the perfect get dolled up event for the holidays.

TBOX

For the other end of the spectrum you can hit up TBOX or the 12 Bars of Christmas bar crawl. It's a full day of bar crawling through Wrigleyville with hundreds of your new, drunk best friends. Everyone gets dressed up in crazy Christmas and theme of the year costumes. You're taking shots of cereal and shots of alcohol. It's a blast. 



Every year we enjoy going to the Christkindlmarket! You'll find ornaments and gifts from Germany and all over the world. Delicious hot chocolate from the mug of the year and chocolate dipped everything. Although the chocolate dipped Rice Krispie treats are my absolute favorite. We love to get an ornament from the market each year to add to our tree and remember our fun holiday tradition.


If you're looking to get indoors but still experience some holiday fun the Polar Express is the perfect event for you. Taking off from Union Station this one hour train ride is filled with fun, singing, Christmas cheer and so much more. I remember way back when in high school we used to do a once a season type of polar express on the Metra trains but now this Amtrak and Warner Brothers version takes you through the entire month of December and a little bit into January. I love it when holiday events get extended that week between Christmas and New Year.


Throughout the month of December you'll find the CTA and Allstate have paired together to bring holiday cheer to the city of Chicago by way of the holiday train and bus. This year it's double the fun on Saturdays with an elves' workshop train as well! One thing I didn't realize is that there is another purpose behind the trains. They're delivering food baskets to various charities throughout the city, this is actually how the train got it's start.  

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

11.28.2018

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort

Just 40 miles outside of Chicago you'll find the lovely city of St. Charles. A stones throw from downtown St. Charles is the Pheasant Run Resort. Pheasant Run is the perfect weekend getaway. Arriving at Pheasant Run you'll think you've been transported to a wonderful resort like you'd find in Lake Geneva.

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort main entrance

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort tower

Arriving on Friday you'll check in and be greeted by friendly staff. They were so helpful in answering all of our questions about the resort and even giving us a map. Of course one must first check out your room. There are two types of rooms you can find, some in the tower and then there are other resort style rooms. We were lucky enough to be in the tower with the lovely view. We did go check out the two floor resort style part of the hotel. They had up close views of the pond and golf course so really there isn't a bad view!
Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort view of lake

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort view of lake 2

Since you just arrived and want to take it easy I would recommend grabbing a pizza to bring back up to your room and relax from the Terrace Cafe. After you started off the weekend with a relaxing dinner head over to the iPANIC Escape Room. No worry though you don't even have to put on your coat! iPANIC Escape Rooms are located in Bourbon Street on the Pheasant Run property. Kevin and I got the chance to conquer the Bourbon Street Voodoo room during our stay! We made it with 7 minutes to spare! It was so much fun doing an escape room together. Have you ever done an escape room?

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort bourbon street

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort iPanic escape room

After enjoying a lovely night sleep wake up and head to breakfast. No need to trek outside for breakfast since you have several different options just a few minute walk from your room. From the breakfast buffet at Jambalaya to more grab and go options from the Terrace Cafe. During the holiday season there is wonderful breakfast with Santa option the three Sundays before Christmas weekend. Who wouldn't want to enjoy red velvet waffles with the big jolly guy?

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort pool

Be sure to book a treatment at the on site Spa Vargas to relax your Saturday morning away. From massages to nails they've got you covered and relaxed. You can even make your own aromatherapy scents to take home! Best part about those is there is no appointment needed. Throughout the day you'll find all sorts of happenings at Pheasant Run. From movies for the kids (or big kids) to s'mores and game rentals. We found that there were lots of fun extra happenings throughout the resort. 

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort Christmas tree

After lunch at Jambalaya if you're going totally stir crazy and the Chicago weather hasn't kicked up I would totally recommend making the 10 minute journey to visit the St. Charles History Museum. Being right in downtown St. Charles you can enjoy the museum and the downtown along the river before heading back to Pheasant Run for dinner at Harvest.

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort Kale and spinach salad

You might recognize that name since I've shared the delicious meals at Harvest before! When you're looking for an amazing, delicious dinner Harvest is it. Every time we've been it's been nothing but the best and this past time was no exception. Kevin started off his meal with the Spinach and Kale salad, yes that is a huge swatch of delicious goat cheese! I tried a bit of the salad but wanted to keep my stomach free for the homemade bread and dinner. Seriously you could eat just the bread basket and be happy as a clam the bread is amazing. 

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort lobster ravioli

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort halibut

We both opted for seafood dishes. Kevin picked the Lobster Ravioli and I went for the Crusted Halibut. The raviolis had huge chunks of lobster meat in them! It was clearly terrible since I think Kevin probably would have licked his plate if I would have allowed him. My dish was just as delicious. From the crisp crust to the perfectly cooked vegetables it was a well balanced and cooked dish. I even ate all the brussel sprouts and I don't usually eat them! Of course one must save room for the fried Oreo dessert. The only down side to the dessert was that there were only three Oreos and with a dessert this good it's tough to share one haha. There was definitely some spoon wars happening over that last Oreo.

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort deep fried oreos

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort Kevin & Betsy

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort Mainstage show

After dinner head to the Mainstage to see a show! You can find all sorts of great bands and shows throughout the year. During December things are especially Christmas fun with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas December 14-16. While it's much better to enjoy it as part of your weekend get away if you are just planning on the show check out their dinner and a show package too. We got the chance to enjoy a fun musical about the women in rock and roll. Mainstage has something to offer for everyone in your family that's for sure!
Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort view from tower room

Perfect Winter Weekend at Pheasant Run Resort view from tower room

After you enjoy another on site breakfast there is plenty of time to enjoy relaxing in your room or the lovely grounds. Even with it being chilly Kevin and I enjoyed walking around outside. Maybe you're more of a swimmer? Take some time to enjoy the indoor pool by the spa or the indoor/outdoor pool. There is nothing like topping of a weekend with some down time. Your next getaway or staycation is in good hands with Pheasant Run Resort. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

11.26.2018

7 Ways to Slash Your Utility Bill This Winter



With winter settling in here in the Chicago area and most of the country our utility bills can be much higher than other times of the year. I know we'd all like to work on keeping those bills as low as possible. There are things we can all do that will not only lower our bills but be better about our energy consumption as well. Is there anything you do to slash your utility bill in the winter?

Turn off lights
This is a huge one not only in winter but throughout the year. If you're not in the room for sure turn off all the lights. Even if you're in a room there might be enough sunlight that you don't need the light on. Maybe you can do with only one light instead of two. 

Change types of bulbs

Build on your good light habits by changing your light bulbs. If you're able to switch to a more energy efficient light bulb do it! Not only will it save you in your bill but you won't have to buy bulbs as often. 

Wash clothes cold

This is something that Kevin and I already do with out laundry. I'm not sure why but I've just always washed clothes cold. Probably because I'm scared of any bleed from color! Either way it's been something that helps our bills out. If you don't need to heat the water you don't need to pay for that heat, simple as that. Plus no worries about pink underwear!

Adjust thermostat

I've read a lot of articles lately that have mentioned if you reduce your temperature by 5-10 degrees you can save something like 5% on your bill. Most of us won't even notice the different either! Put socks and a long sleeve t-shirt on and you won't even notice that difference.

Unplug
Unplugging is another year round utilities saver. Have you ever heard the term phantom energy? Well that's when you item like a curling iron is turned off but still plugged in. Since the curling iron is still plugged in it's still drawing energy! There are a few things we've found throughout the house that really don't need to be plugged in all the time, like our electric tooth brushes and the toaster. What items do you leave around your house that could be unplugged?

Furnace maintenance 
This is a must do each year when you live in the north. It's never a good thing to find out in January when your furnace goes out that this could have been prevented by the yearly check. The yearly check also helps you to keep parts like the filter in tip top shape.

Close your drapes
This might seem like an odd one but it can really make a difference! If you shut your drapes you're adding another barrier between the cold glass and the warm room. This helps to insulate the room better. It can especially be helpful during the night. Even if you don't have fabric drapes closing the blinds can definitely help.

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

11.19.2018

Earn Big Cash Back this week leading up to Black Friday!!

***This post may contain affiliate links***

As a pre-Black Friday warm up, Swagbucks is offering big cash back for shopping online at several of your favorite retailers right now! Just go to this page to see all of the deals available and get the jump on your holiday shopping.

In order to take advantage of the cash back, just create your Swagbucks account when prompted (it takes less than 30 seconds) and then you're all set! Your cash back comes in the form of SB points, which you can redeem for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, Walmart, Starbucks, or get PayPal cash! 

As a special bonus, if you sign up through me you get a 300 SB ($3) bonus when you earn your first 300 SB before December 1st! This site's a great way to extend your shopping budget, especially around the holidays!

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!

Holiday Traditions


Now that we're full into the swing of the holiday season I thought it would be fun to share some of our holiday traditions! Everyone has their own traditions from when they decorate the tree to what they eat. I love hearing about all the different traditions that people enjoy during this time of year. Who knows when you might a new tradition for your own celebrations! I definitely want to hear all about your traditions in the comments.


Chocolate turkeys at Thanksgiving
In my mind we kick off the holiday season mid-November with the ramp up to Thanksgiving. A number of years ago the chocolate turkey recipe made it's way into our family collection. Ever since then it's been a must have on our Thanksgiving table. Kevin loves to remind me multiple times before, during and after Thanksgiving that these were the first gift I gave him.

Christkindlmarket visit
Nothing says holidays like getting hot chocolate in a little ceramic mug with our families. We've enjoyed going to both the market in Daley Plaza and the one in Naperville. Plus if you're looking for an iconic Chicago area Christmas tradition or something to do visiting the market is a definite on that list.

Ornament at Christkindlmarket 

Kevin and I a few years ago started a tradition within the tradition of the Christkindlmarket. We decided that after going crazy on the ornament purchases the first year that we would pick out one ornament together each year. We've gotten some amazing ornaments throughout the years.


Celebrating with my family
We used to spend Christmas Eve with my family but with the kids around now we've switched dates and have been celebrating on Christmas Day. Even though the dates have been switched what we do has still remained the same. We always pull out a new puzzle for us all to work on. That usually ends up being just Bethany and I plowing through the puzzle together. We enjoy a meal of munchies with delicious dips, cocktail weenies and other good eats. It's just a fun relaxed holiday.


Celebrating with Kevin's parents
We continue the chill Christmas with Kevin's parents. When we were at their house for Christmas Day we would head over mid morning for a later breakfast. Nothing like homemade pancakes and bacon! Now we've been enjoying dinner and hanging out.


After Christmas dinner with Kevin's cousins
There is always a get together with Kevin's cousins the week between Christmas and New Years. It usually involves Popeye's Chicken for dinner and several very competitive rounds of UNO. I'm not gonna lie Kevin and I tend to get pretty competitive!






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 unstaged 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!

11.16.2018

Most Amazing Chicago Views

Best Views in Chicago by Musings of a Museum Fanatic


Chicago might have one of the best skylines in the entire world, if not the best! I love snapping photos of the skyline but also the amazing views of the city up close. It's a city filled with skyscrapers, 19th century mansions, iconic homes and so many other architectural gems. These are my top must see views of Chicago. There might be a few in here you've never thought of!


Best Views in Chicago by Musings of a Museum Fanatic
From the river
Most people go strait to the air when thinking about amazing views of Chicago. When I'm asking about where to see my favorite views I tell people they need to get down to river level. Whether it's taking one of the iconic architectural river tours or just enjoying the Riverwalk getting down low provides some spectacular views. Recently I discovered on my first water taxi ride that taking it down to Chinatown you get some wonderful views from south of the Loop. 

Looking into the Bean

Everyone always heads to the Bean to take photos but I've noticed that a lot of people only want to get themselves in the Bean. To really grab a great Bean shot pull back a little bit and get the skyline. You won't be disappointed at the view. 


Best Views in Chicago by Musings of a Museum Fanatic
Museum Campus
You don't have to travel too far to get an amazing view of both the city and the lake. Head straight to Museum Campus for both! Some people thing that the only great skyline photos can be had out by the Adler but I actually think that there are plenty of spots all around Museum Campus for great shots. One of my favorites is just outside the north doors of the Field Museum. 

Hancock Building (875 North Michigan)
A lot of people go straight to the Sears Tower (Willis Tower) for the view. Which don't get me wrong it's an amazing view but if you're up in the Sears Tower you can't see it as part of the view! That's why I always recommend heading over to the Hancock. Plus you have the option of only needing to pay for a drink if you head to the Signature Lounge instead of paying for a ticket to go to the observatory floor. The view from the bathroom is pretty fantastic as well.

Best Views in Chicago by Musings of a Museum Fanatic
Lincoln Park Zoo
I've shared my favorite view from the south well the view from Lincoln Park Zoo is my favorite view from the north. Most people head straight for Studio Gang’s Curvaceous Wood Pavilion. I recommend walking around the entire nature boardwalk. You get some great shots with the beautiful foliage and the city, then end with the iconic view of the city through the Curvaceous Wood Pavilion.

Best Views in Chicago by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

One of the many rooftop bars
There are so many rooftop bars in Chicago and most if not all of them have fantastic views of the city. Cindy's always ranks tops of the list. I had always thought it was probably overrated until I got the chance to enjoy a drink and the view with Jackie in October. As you can see with the above photo it definitely lives up to the hype! The extra perk of enjoying the views from a rooftop bar is the fact you can enjoy a delicious beverage while you view.

From public transportation
This might be my all time favorite way to view the beauty of the city. There is just something different and so unique about viewing the city from the L platform or as you rumble through to the next stop. While you're not a the high up bird's view level you're at this sweet in-between spot. Plus when you go from the Loop northbound on certain lines you get great views of the river! 

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, 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 unstaged 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!