Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 2019

12.23.2019

Sending Cards with Paperless Post

This past year I conquered something I've been wanting to do for a few years. I was able to send a birthday and anniversary card to all my friends and family. You might think that this took an exorbitant amount of time and money but it was really simple. I had help from Paperless Post


A few years ago I discovered Paperless Post when a friend sent me a beautiful e-invite to a party she was hosting. I didn't realize at first that they had way more to offer than just lovely invitations. There are tons of different cards and invites from birthday to Christmas and even themes like charity fundraisers and retirements. You can even find animated ones now! We've been working to incorporate more green into our lives so this was a perfect option instead of mailing cards. 

It couldn't be easier to send your own cards with Paperless Post. First you need to make your own account. I took time right away to add people to the address book since I knew I was going to be sending out cards to a lot of people. That way I didn't have to waste time later searching. You can even connect it to your Gmail or other email or even upload it if you've got it in an Excel spreadsheet. They make it super simple!

There are tons of free options that you can use but there are also some great upgrades that are minimal cost wise. My favorite way to upgrade is to do a fancier envelope. If that's not your jam you can always do a cute liner or stamp. 


So next step is to figure out what you're sending a card for a pick it out! Kevin and I are thinking we'll send out last minute e-Christmas cards. There are almost 700 to choose from! Way more options than if we were to get them printed somewhere. So we picked out this one with the options for lots of cute photos of us. Then you can customize the background, envelope or liner if you so desire. 


The final steps for your card is the personal message and sending it. Or in my case with all of the anniversary and birthday cards this year, schedule ahead!! I ended up scheduling several years worth of cards all at once. It was easy to focus on one person and schedule three different cards for that person in a row. Just pick the date and time hit schedule. Boom! Your cards are ready to send! 

Paperless Post is a fun, beautiful and environmentally friendly way to send sentiments to your friends and family all year long. 

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!


12.11.2019

A Decade of Memories

It wasn't until about a week ago that it dawned on me that we're on the cusp of a new decade! I've been saying this for the past couple of years but where is the time going?! It's kind of amazing how quickly time has been going. I thought it would be fun to pick out one photo that would represent each year from the past decade. Looking back throughout years of photographs it's amazing how much has happened and changed!! How are you feeling about entering a new decade? 

2010
This was one of the main years of Stache, Kevin's band. I was always out with friends at the shows. This was from one in February of that year. I remember doing my hair and dressing in the red top because of Valentine's Day. Getting to spend so much fun and memorable times with friends was for sure what defined 2010. 


2011
This was definitely the year of wedding stuff. Kevin and I got engage April of 2011! This photo is from the day we got engaged. We went out to dinner with his parents at our favorite Italian place (which is now closed sadly). 

2012
Of course I would pick a wedding photo for 2012! This was the biggest thing to happen in 2012 for sure. This is one of my favorite photos from our wedding. We were tucked in a side hallway after the ceremony and the photographer just caught this photo.

2013
This might seem like a really odd photo since all of my other photos are of people. In 2013 after 5 years of applying, networking and hustling I finally got my first full time job at a museum! Technically this is from 2014 but this is the earliest photo I have from my full time job. Such a thrilling one right ha!?


2014
When it comes to 2014 I'm going to cheat and share two photos. This was such a big year for multiple reasons. The first part of the year was defined by the stress and sadness of Dad going through his cancer treatment and passing away. He had mom take this one for me since he was reading the magazine I gave him in his chemo bag. Lane's birth really defined the second part of our year. Lane is just a couple of hours old in this photo. Our first one together!

2015
Kevin's parents took us kids to Disney World in 2015! It was a wonderful trip. We all had a blast hanging out with each other and doing all things Disney. This photo was taken our first night there. It's one of my favorites from the trip. We were still soaked from the water ride and were able to get this photo snapped before we left the park. It was a whim photo and I love it.

2016
I dubbed 2016 the year of friends. After Dad passed I really focused inward and on family for most of 2015. It wasn't that I avoided friends but really wanted to be around family all the time. In 2016 I made a point to spend as much time with friends as possible. These ladies are always there for me and I love them so much! We snapped this photo during my birthday dinner at Weber Grill.

2017
A new niece for 2017! Elowen came along January of 2017. She made the year interesting that's for sure. This photo was before her three month phase where she would scream bloody murder if anyone but Bethany held her. Yeah fun times. She is so cute with those chubby cheeks you can't help but love her. 

2018
 Then there were two! Two nieces to be exact. Juliette made 2018 a surprising year that's for sure. She's made a great addition to the family and like with her older siblings I love seeing her grow and change. This photo was from the evening of Thanksgiving. Bethany and I were just chilling with her wrapped up snug as a bug.  

2019
The biggest event of 2019 was Kevin and I buying our first home together. It's been an adventure owning a place again together. Looking forward to redoing more of our place and making more memories here!

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!

12.06.2019

10 Ways to Get Your Steps In Each Day

I finally crossed off one of my harder 101 list items. I crossed off the "achieve my daily step goal three times a week for six months"! Getting your daily step goal in can be really difficult especially this time a year living in a colder place. There are some days where I had to get really creative and make sure that I hit my goal for the day. What sneaky ways do you get your steps in each day?


Talk & walk
This is one that actually drives Kevin bonkers. I always like to walk when we talk. Well I don't just walk I walk and pick up stuff around the house. He's gotten more into the habit of walking around the house and talking with me. If you're on the phone don't just stand or sit pace the house.

Park far away
Parking far away from the store has multiple perks. Besides getting all those extra steps in parking further away makes it much easier to get in and out of the lot. Trust me this time of year it's the only way to go.

Laundry one item at a time
I heard this tip from someone years ago in a Weight Watcher meeting. She said that instead of piling everything back into the basket and hauling it back to the bedroom she took care of it one piece at a time. She would fold it in the laundry room then walk that one piece back to the bedroom and put it away. If you've got some time this is a great way to get in steps.

Walk around the bus stop/subway/train stop
Are you a public transportation commuter? You probably have lots of time to kill while you wait for the next train or bus. You could use that time Facebook stalking someone from high school or use it to get steps in walking around the stop.

Watch & walk
Sometimes it's tough to stay away from that new episode of the Real Housewives right? Don't just plop down and watch. March in place or if you must sit get up and walk during the commercials. Take it up a notch and do some arm movements while you walk too.

Join the mall walkers
When the winter weather hits in the Chicago area you really don't want to be outside. Even if you're in a more tropical climate I'm sure it gets too hot to walk outside. Head to your local mall and join the steppers there. If you head there earlier in the morning you'll get plenty of steps in plus avoid the crowds.

Walking workout
If you're looking to get in more than just a few steps check out a walking specific workout. I'm a big fan of the OG walking workouts by Leslie Sansone. She's got a bunch of different ones from one mile to 5 and everything in between. There are a bunch of other great walking workouts out there. You can even find some on YouTube.

Use the thing furthest away
Need to use the rest room? Head to the one that's the furthest away. Need to get a tissue? Grab one from the far bedroom. Need to chat with a coworker two floors down? Walk over to them don't just call.

If you're standing you can walk
This goes along with walking and talking. If you're doing something where you're just standing around don't just stand there walk!

Always take steps
If you're able to always take the steps. Avoid the hassle of the elevator and escalator use those steps!

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!

12.02.2019

Guide to Hot Chocolate in Chicago

Hot chocolate is always my favorite hot drink of choice. I can drink it all year long but I especially love it during the winter. I mean come on what is better than hot chocolate on those cold Chicago winter days? It’s essential when you’re out enjoying the sites in the city during the winter to make a stop for some fantastic hot chocolate and a quick warm up. These are the best spots for delicious hot chocolate that can only come from homemade goodness. Here’s where to go for a quick chocolate fix and some warmth during your next Chicago winter adventure:


Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop

830 N. Michigan Ave.
You might know and love Ghirardelli for their little squares of chocolate delight you can get in the store but here in Chicago you can stop by the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop for a hot chocolate fix while you’re Christmas shopping on Michigan Avenue. They don’t just have one type either you can find three different options. Classic cocoa, sea salt caramel hot chocolate and decadent drinking chocolate I mean come on anything with decadent in the name can’t be anything less than amazing.


Mindy's Hot Chocolate

1747 N. Damen Ave.
If you couldn’t tell by the name hot chocolate is the shining star at this place all year round. You’ll find seven different options for your hot chocolate options here. All of them come with a house made marshmallow plus you can have your hot chocolate boozy if you like. Doesn’t that sound perfect on a snowy day?

Xoco

449 N. Clark St.
For a different spin on hot chocolate you need to try XOCO. They’re serving up a piping hot authentic Mexican hot chocolate, You can see them literally grinding the cacao beans while they make your drink. Pair it with one of their famous churro for the perfect chocolate moment.

Bombo Bar

832 W. Randolph
The dessert game is ridiculous at Bombo Bar. Everything tastes amazing and is so Instagram worthy! Try one of their amazing Hotter Chocolates. This is the hot chocolate version of a freak shake. You can go a little more traditional with a s’mores or go out of the box with their Party Monster with cotton candy and other sweets on top.

Katherine Anne Confections

2745 W. Armitage Ave.
Katherine Anne seems to be the big mac daddy of Chicago hot chocolate with lots of accolades from different publications as the best hot chocolate in Chicago and in America! Their signature item is the luxurious drinking chocolate. There are 10 varieties to choose from and if that wasn’t enough choice you’ve got 5 different kinds of marshmallows to top that hot chocolate with.

XO Marshmallow
6977 N Sheridan Rd
A relatively new face to the Chicago dessert scene XO Marshmallow has been taking the scene by storm though. You can find four different flavors of unique hot chocolate here. Their Lavender White Hot Cocoa topped with a homemade lavender honey marshmallow sounds like it’s worth the hike up to Roger’s Park. Be sure to come hungry and get one of their amazing treats to go with your hot chocolate too.

Cocoa + Co

1651 N. Wells St.
Chocolate is the name of the game here. From their pastries to the decadent drinking chocolate almost everything on the menu gives you a chocolate fix. You’ll find intriguing drinking chocolates with names like Rock the Casbah and Lucky Lumberjack. 


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!

11.22.2019

Burlap Straw Wreath


Wreaths have become my favorite DIY the past year or so. I've enjoyed giving them to friends and family as well as making a few for our door. This straw wreath is super easy and totally able to be customized for any season, holiday or any way you want. I've found a pretty orange polka dot print burlap ribbon that I'm planning on making a Halloween wreath for us, there are lovely chevrons and lots of other prints. Found the best ones at Hobby Lobby but Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabrics have different prints as well.

Supplies:
Straw wreath
Burlap Ribbon
T-pins
Wood letter (or other decorations you prefer)
Painting supplies
Floral wire
Hot glue gun

Directions:
1. First set up your little painting station and decorate the letter or other wood decorations. I'm a fan of the one solid color letter but this time decided to try something a little different.


2. While the decorations are drying, take the straw wreath and secure the end of the burlap ribbon to the back side of the wreath.


3. Wrap the ribbon around the wreath. With the different patterns you can find the burlap ribbon the end look is up to you and can be very different for each wreath depending on how you wrap.


4. Leave enough on the end to fold over and pin with the T pins.


5. Cut the floral wire so it can wrap around the wreath. Then make a small hot glue line on the back side. Take the cut wire pieces and push them into the glue. If you're brave when the glue has cooled a bit push some of the glue over the wire so it's even more secure.


6. Cut the wire and secure the end so it won't poke anyone.


7. Voila!

11.20.2019

Thanksgiving Noodles

We all have our favorite holiday dishes. Some of us can't do without the stuffing or the sweet potatoes. Some favorites come in the form of dessert such as pumpkin or apple pie. For me my favorite holiday dish is something a little more on the unique side. It's what I call Thanksgiving noodles. These noodles are super simple and are a dish that I've grown up eating. I think my mom even grew up eating these too! 

When we make them for Thanksgiving mom will take the neck bone and make a broth while the turkey cooks throughout the day. The version I'm sharing is for those year round cravings. I make it with chicken broth but I'm guessing you could probably use vegetable or even beef. Never tried it with beef but I bet the flavor would be great. Another perk of this recipe is that you can make as much or as little plus the leftovers heat up really well. 


Thanksgiving Noodles


Fine egg noodles
Chicken broth
Diced onions & celery to taste

1. Put broth, onions and celery in pot to boil. 

2. Once broth is boiling add fine egg noodles

3. Cook until your desired done-ness. Drain extra broth. 

4. Enjoy!


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!




11.15.2019

How to Overcome Perfectionism

In today's Instagram Facebook world where we're always showing how awesome and amazing things are and how great we are it can be really tough not expect everything to be perfect. This is a big fix that I'm working on in my own life. I know that I expect certain things like a trip or a project I'm working on to come off perfectly. I especially get bogged down in perfectionism when it comes to blogging that's for sure! Since I've been attempting to really work on this. It's tough. I am still working and progressing but for now I've got five ways to help us reformed perfectionists overcome our perfectionism.


Stop Comparing

Comparing yourself, whether it's your appearance, your work, your blog or just your life in general to someone else is the worst thing. It will never end up good for you. You will only feel less than. We are not made to be less than anyone. I read somewhere that there is like a 1 in a trillion chance that you are exactly the way you are. Even if it's only half true that's pretty amazing. You are meant to be the way you are.

We are all unique in our own ways. What makes you you is completely different than any other person out there. A couple years ago my Pampered Chef group started doing personal best sheets. This is something that we can use to track our own progress from year to year. We aren't competing against each other it's us competing or comparing against ourselves. You should be the only person who you compare yourself to. Come from your own experiences, passions and beliefs you won't go wrong! You will see just how far you've come being less than perfect but yet still awesome.


Progress not perfection

If you take and apply anything to your life I hope it's this! I know that I can get bogged down in the idea that I want something to be absolutely perfect and not make any progress on it. One very tangible example is my Chicago and museum related posts. Since I consider myself to be well versed if not an expert in those areas I want those posts to be amazing. I think about all the awesome things I'm going to write about and take photos of to share with you all here. Then I get so overwhelmed with making them perfect that I don't end up doing any of the writing or photos I set out to do.

After a number of really good and bring me back down to earth conversations with Stephanie I have really been trying to abide by progress not perfection. We should all be focusing more on how were getting somewhere instead of that end place. If you focus on the fact that you're working on writing about those topics you love instead of creating the absolute perfect blog post it will be a much better post. If that's a little too much of a in your head example take loosing weight. If just focus on the fact that I want to loose the pounds instead of how I'm going to get there it will never fully work.


Be positive

Perfectionism tends to veer into the negative more than the positive. Since we're trying to be perfect all we usually see is our flaws. Don't go down the negative road. If you keep a positive attitude about what you're doing then your much more likely to see how awesome it is no matter how imperfect.


Keep the main thing the main thing

This is the version of the Stephen Covey quote that my Dad used to say to me all. the. time. When I was younger I didn't really understand that quote as much as I do now. To me there are two ways to take it. One of them being that it's easy to get bogged down in the details of something and you loose sight of your bigger picture. If you keep the main thing the main thing it's so much easier to not only get things done but be happy with what you've accomplished. Like my Chicago posts. I get so crippled and bogged down by the fact that I want them to be absolutely perfect before I post that I forget how much I enjoy when people comment about learning something new or how they're totally going to visit something I suggested on their next trip. That is the main thing! 

Just Do It!

There is never a perfect moment. For anything. You keep thinking oh some day I'll have more time or I'll be more well prepared and I'll do that thing I've been wanting to do then. Nope don't wait. Just do it! If you wait someday might never come and a year from now you'll be in the same place. If you start now a year from now you could be in an amazing place. You just need to take that leap and go for it.

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!

11.11.2019

Chicago Souvenirs and Gifts

What’s one of the best parts about a trip? The souvenirs you bring home! Chicago has some truly excellent options for Chicago themed gifts and locally made treasures. Plus we're almost to that time of year where we give lots of gifts. Here are my favorite places for the perfect Chicago souvenir and gift for your Chicago fanatic.


Museum Stores

I always think a museum store is the perfect place for the perfect souvenir. You’ll find not only items relating to that museum but fantastic items relating to the city you’re in as well as unique one of a kind items. Chicago’s museums are no different! They are full of great items to bring home for your family and friends or to remember your trip by. Most of the big museums have their stores online too so if you regret talking yourself out of a certain souvenir there is a chance you can find it online later! These are my two top picks for best museum stores but you can find all sorts of hidden treasures at all the Chicago area museum stores, like the Arlington Heights museum is making their own pop, don't count any museum store out. 

You’ll find souvenirs and gifts of every imaginable topic here. They have shops scattered throughout the museum as well as having an offsite location at O’Hare airport. The little ones throughout the museum are specialized to whatever exhibit they’re near like the SUE store right next to the T. Rex’s home or the gift shop for the big special exhibit that’s at the Field Museum right now. I personally like to head to the main shop by the South Entrance. You’ll find the really cool items in this main shop. This is where all of the beautiful jewelry is and their extensive book shop are located. You can even get beer and liquor that’s created by the Field Museum!

I love the Art Institute of Chicago stores. They’re full of amazing and unique gifts inspired by pieces in the collection. I think some of my favorite items are the fun and beautiful game items like the Warhol Dominos and different puzzles depicting paintings. If you’ve ever seen a photo of the Art Institute of Chicago you’ll usually see a photo containing the lions. I love that they have a whole line of items with the lions featured on them. From socks to ties the lions are iconic Art Institute so they should be on your souvenir must get list. Plus you’ll find holiday items throughout the year so you’ll want to stop in or check their online store often.

Chicago food & drink

A lot of people don’t think about Chicago being a place for food but let me tell you we’ve got tons of great food souvenirs. I mean come on we’re the capital of hot dogs, popcorn, pizza, candy and beer, what more do you need?!

Garrett’s is the go to for most people when it comes to getting your Chicago popcorn fix. You’ll want to make sure to pick up a bag of the Garrett Mix®, the combination of caramel corn and cheddar cheese makes up the iconic Chicago duo. This is a must have for anyone visiting Chicago. So be sure to grab some to enjoy while you’re visiting and some to take home. From huge tins to small packages there’s a size for every appetite and budget. With 8 locations in the Loop as well as various locations at O’Hare and two suburban locations you really have no excuse to stop by.

Nuts on Clark
My personal favorite for popcorn is Nuts on Clark. You can find them in the airports and Union Station along with the original Nuts on Clark up in Wrigleyville. Like with Garrett’s you’ll want to make sure to get the iconic caramel and cheddar popcorn but I love their buttered popcorn too. You can smell it once you get off the train and all through your walk to the doors. I always find it’s a good last minute pick up when we arrive at the airport for the family member who is picking us up or if we need to bring along a gift to where we’re going.

Frango Mints
You’ll find these iconic mints at Macy’s on State Street. These Chicago staples were made iconic by Marshall Field’s. You can find the original flavor along with at least half a dozen unique flavors and other Frango treats at Macy’s on State Street. If you’re visiting family elsewhere in the area you can find the original flavor at other local Macy’s stores! While you’re grabbing your souvenir box at Macy’s be sure to enjoy desserts made with the mints up in the Walnut Room. The Frango Mint Ice Cream Pie is to die for.

Lou Malnati's Deep Dish Pizza
We already know I'm in the Lou Malnati's pizza is the best Chicago deep dish camp. My favorite part about this Chicago staple is that you can get frozen pizzas to go. If you're visiting someone in the area and need a thank you gift this is the perfect place to grab one. Know a displaced Chicagoan who has been missing home? You can actually send them a Lou's pizza through the mail. Plus you can always send yourself a little treat or a souvenir the same way. What a good way to remember your trip a few times throughout the year?

All Chicago Gifts

Like any good souvenir you must leave the city with something that says Chicago. Whether it contains the Chicago flag or the map of the L you just must. Here are my picks for top places to find that perfect item that is just so Chicago.

Transit Tees

If you're looking for anything Chicago branded Transit Tees is the place to go. They smack you in the face with Chicago but in a cool I want everything in this store way. From their new El: The Chicago Transit Adventure game to Chicago Style Hot Dogs Socks that you didn't realize you needed in your life.

Local Goods Chicago

Are you more of a handmade gifts type of person? Check out Local Goods Chicago they're all about locally handcrafted, one of a kind gifts. I'm a big fan of the simple elegant beauty of the Chicago Flag Necklace. They have some great consumable gifts like the Chicago In Transit soap bars although I feel like people who have ridden the L would argue with the scents being correct!
I know you'd think I would put the Chicago History Museum up in my museum stores section. It was a tough decision. Ultimately they have one of the best stores to get some pretty great Chicago swag so down here they are. You can order online but really the store at the museum has waaaaaay more in it than what's online. My favorite item was my lovely hot dog magnet. While they have all sorts of decor and clothing items I love the fact that they have a stellar Chicago book selection. I think they must carry every book that's currently in print relating to Chicago. I've discovered so many great reads through the shop. 



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!

11.08.2019

7 Tips & Tricks to Drink More Water

This post may contain affiliate links. 

When the colder weather hits in the Chicago area it's really dry here. I find myself really needing to make sure that I stay hydrated both inside and out. Sometimes it can be tough to drink enough water throughout the day. I can find myself parched by the end of the day in the winter. There are some tips and tricks that make it much easier to get your ounces in throughout the day. Here are my tips for making sure you get enough water in each day.



Water bottles all over
For a long time I really made sure that I had one water bottle in my stash. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being wasteful. Even though I was being budget and environmentally conscious there were tons of times that I really needed water with me but didn't have it. Plus at work I was using disposable cups which totally defeated the point! So since then I've expanded my water bottle stash to make sure I have a work water bottle, an at home one and one that could be used for on the go.

Add flavor
I know many people's excuse for not getting enough water is that they don't like the taste or hate that water has no taste. We are living in the golden age of water flavorings. From old school favorites like Crystal Light to the MIO drops. I've even seen ones that are orange Crush flavored and Arizona Arnold Palmers. There are plenty of ways to add flavor. You can even add fruit and cucumbers when you use a water bottle like the Pampered Chef Infusion Water Bottle.

Keep track
When you start working to increase your water intake it's good to keep track. Since we're supposed to be getting about 8 8 ounce glasses of water a day you want to make sure that you're actually getting at least that amount. Like almost everything there's an app for it. There are dozens that you can download that are specifically for tracking water. Lots will even give you a reminder. Usually I'll track it with my Fitbit app or with my WW app. Since I already do things in these apps it makes it easier. It's all about keeping it simple.

Choose sparkling or mineral water 
Sometimes I know I really just crave something with some bubbles. In the past I would reach for a pop. Now I reach for a sparkling water. Like flavorings for your water we're living in the golden age of sparkling waters. The number of different types has skyrocketed. I personally like Perrier flavors while Kevin is a LaCroix Lime person. Obviously regular water is best but sometimes you just need that extra pizzazz!

Keep it filled up
A water bottle doesn't do you any good if it's empty does it? Nope. None. So be sure throughout the day to make sure that your bottle is filled up. It's just that simple.

Try tea instead
This goes along with the flavoring. Tea might be a good option if you need a flavor to make water taste better. Be sure not to add any or too much extra things like milk or sugar. Don't want to add too many calories to your drink. Now you can find tons of different flavors of tea so there is no need to feel bored. Since you're really only flavoring the water you still get the benefits. Be sure to check if it's caffeine free if you have issues with it. 

Set reminders
One of the biggest lies I tell myself is that I'll remember things without writing it down. The same can be said for not giving myself a reminder. If you're just getting in to drinking more water like any new habit it can be tough to remember to do it regularly. Use whatever reminding system that works for you whether it's your calendar or a to do app or even your BFF. Just make sure to follow through when that reminder hits.

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!

11.06.2019

Pampered Chef Fall Recipe Round Up


With the colder weather we're changing over everything in our lives from our outfits to our food. Fall makes me think of warm rich flavors. I think of fall as comforting one pot meals and soups that warm your entire body. Since we're well underway into the fall and I know I always need some new recipes here are some of my favorite and some new Pampered Chef recipes to add to your recipe box this fall. 

Fall Soups

Butternut Squash Soup



One Pot Meals

Chicken PaprikashChicken Pot Pie ChowderQuick Cooker One-Pot Oktoberfest


Thanksgiving Sides

Butternut Squash & Apple StuffingEasy Cranberry SauceEasy Mashed Potatoes


Thanksgiving Desserts

Homestyle Apple PieMini Pecan PiesQuick Cooker Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Fall Drinks

Apple Cider Vinegar TonicCranberry CollinsCran-Raspberry Fizz


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!

11.04.2019

30 Things That Happened in 1989

Thirty years ago 1989 was on the cusp of a new decade. There was lots of 80s influence still happening but you could see the movement ahead into the 90s. Break out the crimper for a look back at 30 things that happened in 1989. How old were you in 1989? What do you remember most about that year if you were around? 


Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

Will Smith wins the first ever Grammy for Best Rap Performance with his song Parents Just Don't Understand

Berlin Wall comes down

Seinfeld
starts

Exxon Valdez tanker runs aground spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons)



On December 3 President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev announced that the Cold War was over

Taylor Swift is born on December 13

Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade

First liver transplant is performed

A 4,400-year-old mummy is found in the Great Pyramid of Giza



Disney opens Hollywood Studios park at Disney World

Field of Dreams

In Alaska's Prince William Sound the Exxon Valdez runs aground and spills 11 million gallons of oil

Ted Bundy is executed in Florida's electric chair

The Simpsons premiered on Fox

Nintendo releases the Game Boy in Japan in April and in North America in July



Sir Tim Berners-Lee develops the World Wide Web

U.S. Senate voted “to ban smoking on all domestic airline flights

Lucille Ball passes away on April 26

After decades of no princess movies Disney releases The Little Mermaid

Microsoft Office is first released



American Gladiators enters our lives

Pro-democracy rallies are held in Tiananmen Square. Martial law is declared and hundreds are killed

The term "freshman 15" entered our vocabulary thanks the teen magazine Seventeen

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation




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!

10.30.2019

9 Things That Have Happened Lately

Before we head into the last two months of the year gotta take some time to look back at the last couple of busy months. It was a good start to fall and I expect the rest of the season to keep up the momentum. How has your fall been so far?

Becky Weekend
Another Labor Day another fantastic weekend with my unbiological twin! We decided on a low key, low budget weekend. There was a movie marathon day along with our annual attendance at the Naperville Labor Day parade with the family. It was nice to just chill out together.


Williamsburg
Kevin and I had been looking forward to this trip for months. We didn't get to see my Uncle Lee & Aunt Carol at the reunion this year since they were travelling around Iceland so it was awesome to spend some one on one time with them. The first night we were there the four of us spent at least four hours at the kitchen table just chatting about anything and everything.


Kevin and I got to see all the historical sites that I wanted to see. From Colonial Williamsburg to Historic Jamestowne and we even spent a day in Richmond. Pretty sure I need to sit down and devote an entire post or two to our trip. This is probably one of my top five favorite trips I've taken. It was just a really good trip all around, amazing time with family and history every day. What more could I ask for?


Get Organized Challenge
As you've been able to tell from my Instagram feed I've really been able to sit down and scrapbook the past several weeks. A big reason for this has been the Get Organized Challenge. This is a scrapbook organizing challenge and I've been working my way through the 8 weeks. Every week there is a different area of your scrapbook supplies that you focus on organizing. The difference in how I'm able to use my supplies has been amazing. Especially with the paper and embellishments that I have the organization has made it so I can really just sit down and create!


DAM Chicago Conference
I haven't a chance to really go to any conferences this year for work since I switched to my new job. They were really early in the year and there was too much going on. I was able to attend DAM (Digital Asset Management) Chicago Conference in September. In addition to the conference I was able to go to workshops the day before and this year things really just clicked. I love that a topic I have been working to understand and learn more about finally started to make total sense.

Lane's 5th Birthday
I still cannot get over how big he is and the fact that he's 5. I kind of refuse to believe it. He has been obsessed with Frozen the last couple of years so of course for this birthday he wanted a Frozen themed birthday. Bethany went all out with some great decorations and a scratch made cake. I thought it looked a little like Sleeping Beauty's cake. Could anyone look any happier looking at a cake??


 Juliette turns one!
 Who knew that when you get to a certain age you become that old person who keeps thinking and saying I don't know how time is flying? I cannot believe this kid is one. She's right there on the cusp of walking and turning from that sweet little baby into a crazy toddler. Birthday was a nice chill family dinner. She even kept the crown on for a while.


Danielle's wedding
It's been a couple of years since we've had any wedding festivities on our calendar. Last week we went to the wedding of my good friend Danielle. The entire gambit of wedding events was a blast. I got to hang out with all my former work peeps. She looked gorgeous, the food was delicious and the dancing was non-stop.


Open House Chicago
Another Open House Chicago in the books. Mom and I decided to head to Evanston this year. I wanted to check out the American Toby Jug Museum as well as the Bahá'í House of Worship. We were able to visit both of those places on my list as well as several others along the way including a whiskey distillery! I can't wait until next year. I feel like they should do it twice a year it's so much fun!

Trunk or Treat
Kevin and I joined the family again for Trunk or Treat at our church. Probably a good thing too since it looks like snow here on Thursday! It was so bright at sunny I didn't get too many good photos of the kiddos in their costumes unfortunately. I did get this good one of Elowen and my mom. She was a ballerina, Lane was a star and Juliette was the girl from Bob's Burger. There was tons of candy and a huge pumpkin drop. We won for best car decoration with our Frozen castle. Everyone loved it.


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!

10.21.2019

Guide to Chicago Pizza

If there is one type of food that Chicago is known for I would have to say it’s pizza. We are definitely the pizza capital of the Midwest if not the US. I mean come on we even have the pizza museum here. Most people only know Chicago for its deep dish but there is so much more to Chicago pizza than that!

Deep Dish

Let’s start off with the big boy. There are so many different deep dish options and if you ask any Chicagoan they have their favorites and have very strong opinions about why it’s the best. Chicago deep dish is typically a nice crust that goes all the way up the sides of that pizza pan followed by the mozzarella cheese then toppings and sauce. The sauce is more often than not chunks of tomato type of sauce. This is usually why I’m not a fan of Chicago style deep dish. As well all know I have issues with hunks of tomatoes. There are some places that do their own takes on the Chicago deep dish. Here are my top picks in the deep dish category.

Lou Malnati’s

Lou’s is the best. As I mentioned everyone has their own favorite and what they think is the best deep dish place and we are a Lou’s family. It’s really in the crust. Their butter crust is a-freaking-mazing. You can even get it half-baked or frozen to heat up at home. Not from the area or planning a visit? No worries you can have it sent to you!

Giordano’s

I think most people I know who aren’t Lou’s fans are in the Giordano’s camp. They are famous not only for their deep dish but for their stuffed deep dish. Who wouldn’t love extra cheese goodness? Yeah that’s right no one. More cheese is always better.

Gino’s East

Another of the big three Chicago deep dish kings. If you’re looking for that stereotypical old school pizza experience head to Gino’s East Magnificent Mile. The atmosphere is fantastic and you can really leave your mark, along with everyone else on their walls!

Pequod’s Pizza

Chicago & Morton Grove
A lot of people consider their pizza more of a pan pizza than a Chicago deep dish but I’m keeping them in the Chicago deep dish category. I love their pizza. They have an amazing sauce and their known for their caramelized crust. I just found out looking at their website for this post that they actually get the caramelization from adding mozzarella on the crust! Knew I loved it for a good reason. They have a fantastic lunch deal too.


Thin Crust

Most people don’t realize that Chicago has a second amazing style of pizza and that’s the Chicago thin crust pizza. You’ll find this style of pizza at just about every local pizza joint in the Chicago land area. It’s a thin, crispy crust. Sometimes people refer to it as a cracker crust.

Dan’s Pizza

Lisle
I had to throw in my own hometown favorite. Dan's has been rocking out the pizza scene in Lisle/Downers Grove for forty years! They've got the Chicago thin crust down pat but my favorite part is their sauce. It's sweet but in a good tomato sauce way. All in all it's the perfect Chicago thin crust pizza. Worth the hike if you're coming from the city!

Aurelio’s Pizza

With locations all over the Chicagoland area as well as several different states there is no excuse not try Aurelio's Pizza. They're not the cracker thin but they've got a great mouthfeel. They're a great option if you need a consistently great Chicago thin crust pizza. They can also hook you up with the amazing Bosco breadsticks.


The Crazy Pizzas

In addition to the main two of Chicago pizza there are plenty of pizza places who are cooking to the beat of their own drum. These are places making their own style of crust and toppings or are doing something totally different. Either way they make the Chicago pizza landscape a lot of fun.

Chicago Oven Grinder & Pizza Co.

Tucked right along Lincoln Park this place has been an institution for almost 50 years now. You won’t actually find your typical pizza here. The main staples of the menu are their oven grinders which are Italian loafs stuffed with all sorts of fantastic toppings. The star of their menu is actually the pizza pot pie. They start with cheese on the bottom of the bowl then the gobs of veggie and meat toppings with the crust on the top. You get a show when it comes out and the server pops it out for you! Be sure to bring some cash since that’s all they accept.

Roots Pizza

Roots takes special pizzas to a whole other level with their chef collaborations. With some big names like “Jimmy Bannos Jr’s Purple Pig ‘Nduja Sausage Pizza” and “Rick Ortiz’s Antique Taco Chili Cheese Curd Pizza” you know these pizzas are going to be like nothing you’ve tried before. With four locations around the city there is no excuse not to get to Roots and try one of these chef created masterpieces.

Parlor Pizza

From a pizza with Brussel sprouts and pancetta to one piled high with Maine lobster Parlor Pizza definitely shows up when it comes to unique pizzas. The crust is super crispy and has great flavor. You’ll keep coming back because you just have to try all of the different types. Make sure to save room for dessert because they have amazing dessert tacos. Don’t believe me check out their mouthwatering Instagram. It’s the stuff of a dessert lover’s dreams.

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!