Musings of a Museum Fanatic: October 2018

10.18.2018

Get 300 bonus SB when you sign up for Swagbucks in October


All throughout October you can earn large bonuses when sign up as my referral on Swagbucks. Swagbucks is a rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching the web, watching videos, shopping, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Target, or PayPal cash. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a 300 SB bonus! Here's how: 


1. Sign up using this link



2. Earn 300 SB total before November 1st, 2018. You'll get a 300 SB bonus for it! 

3. That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned over $1,500 in gift certificates! I've been saving up Target gift certificates to stock up on our household items and do some early Christmas shopping. 



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!

10.17.2018

Toasted Orzo Skillet With Shrimp


I have been working hard to plow my way through my make 50 Pampered Chef recipes 101 list task lately. We gave the Toasted Orzo Skillet With Shrimp a try a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. Orzo is one of those pastas that I forget how much I enjoy it until I give it a go in a new recipe.

Of course we ended up putting our spin on it. Since we aren't huge fans of lemon pepper I thought the Greek Rub would be a nice one to use and it tasted fantastic. Also I didn't realize that the peas had to go in earlier so they were added at the end. Luckily they had been sitting out on the counter and didn't take long to cook! Note to self read recipe all the way through!

Ingredients:

8 oz. large frozen, thawed shrimp, peeled and deveined (31-40 per pound)
1 tsp Lemon Pepper or Greek Rub
1 T. canola oil
1 small onion
1 T. butter
2 garlic cloves, pressed with Garlic Press
½ tsp salt
1 cup orzo pasta
1¾ cups low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup frozen peas
1 oz. pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
1 lemon
¼ cup fresh parsley leaves

Directions: 

1. Season the shrimp with the rub.


2. Heat oil in the 10" Stainless Steel Nonstick Skillet over medium-high heat for 3–5 minutes. Add the shrimp and sear for 2–3 minutes on each side, or until they’re lightly browned and pink. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and keep warm.


3. Cut onion into chunks and chop with the Manual Food Processor.

4. Add the butter to the skillet and cook until it’s melted. Add the onion, garlic, and salt and saute for 1–2 minutes until the onion is translucent.


5. Add the orzo to the skillet. Stir while the orzo is toasting, for about 2–3 minutes.


6. When the orzo is browned, add the broth and peas. Simmer for 6–8 minutes, uncovered, or until the liquid is absorbed. Add more broth as needed if the orzo needs more time.



7. Grate the cheese with the Microplane® Adjustable Fine Grater. Juice the lemon into the skillet with the Citrus Press.


8. Add the shrimp and half of the cheese; stir. Remove the skillet from the heat.

9. Use the Herb Mill to grate the parsley over the top of the skillet. Top with remaining cheese.


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!

10.15.2018

Rosehill Cemetery

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic



Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Last year we toured Graceland Cemetery, so this year let me take you to one of Chicago's other well known cemeteries, Rosehill Cemetery. On the northwest side of Chicago you'll find 350 acres of lush green space that make up Rosehill Cemetery. Founded in 1859 it's actually the biggest cemetery inside the city limits of Chicago.

Rosehill's Joliet-limestone entrance was designed by William W. Boyington. He was also the architect of the Chicago Water Tower. In 1975 the Rosehill Cemetery Administration Building and Entry Gate was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Pretty cool huh? 

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Since it's such a large cemetery you can only imagine all of the different Chicagoans that are buried here. You might recognize the gentleman's name above from previous posts about the Hull House Museum. Yup he was the gentleman who first owned the Hull House he was also a Chicago real estate tycoon.

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

What I was most excited to see at Rosehill Cemetery was the Civil War graves and memorials. There are about 350 Union soldiers buried here and three Confederate soldiers. Among the memorials is my favorite, the canon draped in the American flag that honors the Company "A" of the Chicago Light Artillery. Even though it's supposed to be the flag it has this spooky ghost in a sheet look to it. 

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

The art you'll find through the gravestones in Rosehill Cemetery is amazing. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many different and unique types of stones. My favorites were the different stones that are shaped like animals. I especially was drawn to the deer below. There were two and they were just in the middle of the cemetery looking over the stones. Very serene.

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

It wouldn't be a cemetery without a creepy ghost story right? Above you'll see Frances Pearce and her infant daughter, Frances Pearce Stone. Frances Pearce was the second wife of Horatio Odell Stone. When she was only 20 she passed away and just four months later their young daughter Frances Pearce Stone died as well. Horatio had a monument created to honor his wife and child. It started out in Lincoln Park but found it's final resting place in Rosehill. 

The glass was added it later and people started to notice weird things happen. Every year about the time of their death the box will fill with a mysterious mist. Almost like there is a ghost filling it up eh? 

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

The Chicago Volunteer Firefighters Memorial was built in 1863 by Leonard Volk (pictured further up) who resides in Rosehill as well. When you get closer you can see hoses and fire hats that adorn the monument.  

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Not only is the cemetery itself the largest in Chicago but the mausoleum is the largest in the city too. It actually has two levels. Since Kevin wouldn't go in with me I didn't stay long. The hallways were so long and really kinda freaky when you're in there by yourself!

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

In the mausoleum you'll find a number of famous Chicagoans such as Aaron Montgomery WardRichard Warren Sears, and John G. Shedd. Supposedly Sears is pretty pissed at how close he is to War and haunts that part of the mausoleum! Throughout the building you'll find these small rooms that are almost like the free standing mausoleums you see throughout many cemeteries. These rooms tend to have ornate doors like the tree pictured below. I could even see stained glass in some and I read that some were even made by Tiffany!

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Rosehill Cemetery by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

If you want a little more detail about the cemetery be sure to check out one of the number of tours offered by different companies. There are tons of different types of tours for everyone from spooky to artistic.

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!

10.12.2018

6 Tips to Make a Rental Feel Like a Home

6 Tips to Make a Rental Feel Like a Home by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Renting can sometimes feel like you're in a hotel like you're not actually in a home ... your home. To combat that feeling there are definitely things that can be done. Kevin and I are have been renting our current place for a little over three years now and we've taken certain steps to make it feel more like our home and not that this is just a temporary place to fill with our stuff. I've got some tips on how we've made a rental feel more like a home. Do you rent? What are some things that you do to make it feel more like a home?

Paint or Stencil
This is definitely something that should only be done with approval of your landlord! If you've got the go ahead to paint the place go for it! This can make a huge difference especially if you're in an apartment complex type of place where everything tends to usually be a sterile white. Don't want to paint an entire wall or want to give it some more personality look into stenciling. There are so many trendy stencils these days you can really find something unique. In our old condo we did an entire wall pattern but you can also find ones to go just around the top. These types are great if you have cabinets that don't go to the ceiling or that bump out in other rooms. 

Make it green
Add plants fake or real can really liven up a space. We enjoyed finding a lovely balcony basket. Our balcony faces west so we always enjoy sunsets so the basket really adds to the ambiance, we even had some feathered friends the last few years make their home in it. Don't have an outside space you can totally bring the green indoors. You can even get these great indoor set ups with lights for a little indoor herb garden all year long. 

Upgrade your furniture
You might still be in college hand me down furniture but there is no need to keep it that way if you're able to upgrade. If you have the funds it can be a great way to upgrade your temporary digs. After Kevin and I got married investing in a great couch and love seat set made a huge difference in our living room. We invested in La-Z-Boy pieces because that what we love and it was worth the investment for us. Maybe you're ready to upgrade your bed frame that includes a stellar headboard or even investing in an amazing mattress. 

Add art and photos to the walls 
This is probably the easiest way to add homey feelings to a rental. A lot of places are cool with you nailing stuff into the wall but if they're not you can always go a temporary route. Command strips are the perfect way if you have to stay really temporary with your wall hangings. After moving into out new place we took our picture hanging to a new level and tried out some gallery type of looks on a few of our walls. These groupings of photos and other neat wall art pieces give the walls a great look. 

Add color
If you can't add color through painting the wall there are plenty of other ways to bring it into your rental. We've added color through some of our storage bins. Since our closets are pretty open we needed storage bins to make the one long shelf that runs the length more usable. We thought investing in some colorful bins that would hold things like my purses and scarves would maximize the space and add color. Add colors in other areas of the apartment too.

Put a rug on it
Another simple and potentially cheap way to jazz up a rental is with the use of rugs. If you're in an older city like Chicago you'll find lots of older buildings with hardwood floors. Rugs are perfect not only for a more homey feel but also to add warmth to a room. 

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!

10.10.2018

13 Uses for Your Pan Scraper

With all the amazing Pampered Chef products we have in our kitchen one would think the fanciest products would be on the top of my list of favorites. Yes some of those are definitely among my favorite but the one that is really a work horse in our kitchen is the little unassuming brown square Pan Scraper

This little guy has so many uses we've made a point to have several in the kitchen and one in every bathroom. With it's four different shaped corners you can get at any area. Here are 12 ways to use your Pan Scraper!

Removing Stickers

Cleaning off counters in kitchen and bathrooms

Cleaning non-stick pans

Ice scraper

Remove caulk build up

Gift for your elementary teacher friends to use at work (dried glue and paint on tables)

Scrape gunk off the stove

Screwdriver in a pinch

Smooth down craft vinyl or labels

Cleaning around appliances, sink and that line between counter and stove

Defrost freezer

Getting baked goods out of pans

Remove spilled wax



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!

10.08.2018

5 Tips to Improve Your Email Etiquette


The past few years it's become really evident that we have become super relaxed in how we communicate with each other. From writing entire sentences with just single letters to fear of replying to messages too quickly that we totally forget to reply at all. Since we can't get away from writing emails in the majority of our work and personal lives we should really make sure we're following certain etiquette. You might be rolling your eyes at me right now but trust me it makes a huge difference not only with how people view you professionally but also how much your friends and family enjoy communicating with you too. 

Respond in a timely manner
This is probably the most important one in my mind and probably the one I am the worst at. With being able to check on multiple devices there are more than a few times where I check on my phone because I'm on the go then totally forget to reply when I have time or I just don't have time because I'm running around. This can be such a deal breaker when I'm trying to connect with brands and people in my professional life so I'm working really hard to fix this bad habit. 

Answer all the questions
I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten an email reply that only answers the first question I asked out of a longer email. When you're working on a project and someone has to email you multiple times to get you to answer their questions it's super frustrating. This can really slow down a project. 

Be detailed
This goes hand in hand with answering all of the questions. Don't just give a yes or no answer if the reply requires more than that. If you're communicating with family about a get together that's coming up soon don't leave out key information like when you want people over at your house. Leaving out details and key information can make it a very confusing situation and you might end up with half your family at your doorstep three hours before you want them there!

Always say thank you
I read an article a while back probably from Muse talking about how they found that people who regularly added some sort of thank you to their emails had much better response and relationship with their coworkers. That has stuck with me since I read that so I've made a point to express my thanks in all my emails since then and not just putting thank you but really trying to say things like "thank you so much for taking time to research X for me". I can really tell a difference in the tone of emails I am getting back. 

Reply all
Oh no I'm not saying to reply all when you really should be replying just to the sender. I'm talking about when everyone should be in on the email conversation. Sorry Mom but I gotta throw you under the bus with this one! There are times when Bethany, myself and my Mom are carrying on email conversations and she will just reply to one of us then the other only gets part of the conversation. This makes for a very confusing time for the person left out. 

What is one email etiquette area you're working on? 

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!

10.03.2018

101 List the First 6 Months


Hard to believe it's already 6 months into my new 101 in 1001 list! I kicked it off on April 1 so I thought that six months in would be a good time to update where I am. Starting off the list I've been able to fully cross off six things already! While it's not as much as I would have hoped right away I'm feeling good since most of them are ones that are more than just a one time event. Here are the six I've crossed off so far. 

16. Take a Water Taxi

52. Do three things within walking distance of our condo (i.e. Lynfryd winery tasting, Roselle fest, etc.)

53. Read 10 books just because I'm interested in them

83. Secret Stephanie item

98. Invest in two smaller suitcases for smaller trips

100. Visit Charleston, SC

While the number I've totally completed hasn't quite hit double digits yet I'm very proud of how many of my list items I am actively working on! I have 40 items that I have in active progress. Not just started but I'm actively working to cross them off. While in some categories I've only got one or two in progress in most I have at least four being worked on!

It's an amazing feeling to look at my 101 list on Day Zero Project and see all the progress I'm making. This time I'm working hard to add notes and keep track of progress better. Since I have 40 of them in progress right now and that would be a little silly to share all of them here I'll share the ones I'm most further along in my progress.

10. Develop hashtag lists for common photos I post so I can just copy those each time  
I've pulled together a couple of the more regular types of hashtags I use like Museums and Food. It's come in handy so much since then. Still have yet to go back and work on more but I've got a good start!

13. Enjoy 10 rooftop bars 
I had planned on crossing this one off this summer but it takes a lot more time to actually go and enjoy things haha. I'm at 4 of 10 so I think I should be able to cross this one off next summer.

19. Visit 10 Chicago area museums I’ve never visited before  
Was there any doubt that I would just power through this 101 list task? Nope! I'm at 6 out of 10. If I keep visiting at the rate I'm going I should have this off the list by the end of the year or early next year. I've gotten to most of the easy ones so getting to new ones takes more time now.

23. Cook 50 new Pampered Chef recipes  
15 of 50 recipes made! It's been a lot of fun trying out new recipes, I mean Kevin is loving it let's be honest haha. Loving the fact that I get to write off the groceries for these too since I'm trying out recipes for my business.

50. Read all the books in the O’Malley Saga by Bertrice Small  

71. Keep All Mail in each of my emails under 500  
I got this one going hot out of the gate in April! It's a great feeling knowing I'm keeping my emails pretty low. I do know that there is some more deleting and cleaning I can do for one of my emails but overall they're all staying below the 500 mark.

76. Create my own professional portfolio website  
So I created the website and it's a basic one. I need to go back and work on fixing it and adding more images. I've been debating about doing some side hustles relating to archives, exhibits or maybe even genealogy. I still haven't figured it out yet but when I do I'll already have my website ready.

93. Paint nails twice a month  
So rocking out the nails all the time! You can see all the new pretty colors through my instastories I try to make sure I share them there. I've received a lot of compliments about them since I've started painting them regularly, it's nice!

97. Sit down with Kevin and make our ultimate travel bucket list  
Kevin and I started the list. He has like two places that are on his bucket list while mine is quite long. I want to go back and make sure every place is on there. Then the plan is to do a top three of the moment.

These are all the tasks that I'm at least halfway through and feeling really good about at the moment. It can be tough to work on a huge list like this. You really need to focus and get smaller goals accomplished as part of the bigger goals. If you need help conquering yours check out this post. Who has been working hard on their goals lately too?

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!

10.01.2018

15 Pampered Chef Fall Recipes



Now that the weather is turn chilly we start to change the way we cook. We're starting to enjoy heartier meals and warm drinks, anything to cozy up with am I right?  I've got a round up of 15 Pampered Chef recipes you should add to your to cook lists this fall. From soups to dinner time favorites to even some spooky fun Halloween recipes there is plenty to get you cooking in a fall state of mind. What's your go to fall recipe?






























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!