Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 2019


6 Things to Simplify Immediately

With so much easy technology in our lives right now you'd think everything would be so simple. That is so far from how things are for most of us it's not even funny. If anything things have gotten so much more convoluted and complicated.  I know focusing on simplifying is on the top of my list and I'm actively working towards making life less stressed and more simple. Here are 6 things I've found that we can all simplify immediately and have great results.


The older I get the more time I try to save myself in the morning. I hate wasting time in the morning standing in front of the closet. You get all stressed out trying to pick out the right top to go with the right pants. Then you realize that the pants are actually too small now and you have to start over.

By purging your closet and buying clothes mindfully you can really simplify this part of your life. I mean really we probably only wear like 1/3 of what we own anyways right? No sense having an entire closet of clothes if we’re just going to wear some of them. I’ve read lots of articles about people like Steve Jobs who have a “uniform” that they wear so they don’t have to waste time figuring out what to wear. I’m just saying the guy started a billion dollar company. I shared in July some other tips that help you get dressed quickly in the morning too.


Slogging through emails is one of the most time consuming, stressful and annoying parts of most peoples’ day. I know it is for me. I have four different email addresses! My original personal one with my maiden name, one I made with my married name, blog one and Pampered Chef one. That’s a little excessive right?

I’ve been actively working to get to the point of deleting my maiden name email address. This has involved unsubscribing to tons of various promotional emails and changing the email in so many places to my married name one. I’ve actually been unsubscribing to emails on all my email addresses. It can definitely be a time consuming task. Sometimes I use Unroll.Me to help it go faster. In the morning I’ll look at maybe two or three emails that came in and ask myself if I’ve actually read these emails the last 4 or 5 times they came through. If not clearly I don’t care about this company anymore so I can unsubscribe.

Social media

This is super tough for me. I’ve caught myself during the day many times lately just hopping from one social media to the other in boredom realizing that I just spent 20 minutes on stupid and non-productive things. I know that this is something that is tough for a lot of us especially if you blog or have a business. You can find yourself on social media all the time promoting those things but think about if you’re actually using your time wisely and getting a return on your investment.

Social media is still something I’m attempting to figure out how to simplify. I know that throughout the years I’ve followed way too many companies, people and brands that I just scroll past and don’t even care about the content they’re posting. So I’ve been working to unfollow those. Other than that I’m still stumped on how to simplify posting and commenting. Are you a master of the simplified social media? I’d love to hear what you do!


Before Kevin and I started Financial Peace University earlier this spring taking care of our finances seemed like this overwhelming mountain we had to climb. Neither of us are mountain climbers so we weren’t any good at it. We learned that it’s really simple to take control of your finances with budgeting. Now I realize by doing a budget you're not going take care of things like how to allocate your retirement and such but that budget can really simplify a lot.

Since we've been budgeting for several months now we haven't been worrying about if we're spending too much and if we're putting enough into our retirements. We see where our money is going and what it's doing. Granted there are changes throughout the month but overall I've felt so much calmer since we've simplified with our budget. Check out apps like Mint or EveryDollar for easy budgeting tools or you can even set up a budget in Excel.


These days it feels like everyone has a jam packed calendar at work and at home. There are two areas of the calendar I want you to focus on. First is making sure that everything you want to put on your schedule gets written down in your calendar. If you’re a paper person make sure to have your calendar with you so you’re able to note or if you’re a digital calendar person take 30 seconds and put it in there immediately. I used to be a paper calendar person but I love the reminders I get when I put things in Google Calendar. There is also something to be said for being able to share calendars as well. It’s great to know what my brother and Bethany are up to if I need to get a hold of them.

While most of us fill our calendars with things we like and enjoy there is plenty on our calendars that annoy and stress us out. Go Mari Kondo on your schedule and ask if it brings you joy. I’m not saying delete that doctor appointment because it doesn’t bring you joy. Does anyone really like going to the doctor? Not really. I’m talking about the dinner invite from that person who don’t even really like hanging out with anymore. Not feeling that book club you started a couple of months ago? These time sucks aren’t worth it so simplify your schedule and get rid of them. In a nice manner of course!

Meal time

I really enjoy cooking. It’s one of my favorite things to do but there are so many times when it comes time to decide on a meal that Kevin and I just don’t want to do it. We can’t believe we have to figure out what to eat again. There is no agreeing on a meal, nothing is thawed and so on. The same goes for my lunches, I’m running around right before I have to leave for work like a chicken with my head cut off figuring it out.

With some planning it makes meal time so much simpler. When we take time to think through our meals for the week it takes away half the stress. I like to at least think through the main part of our meals. Such as Monday we’ll have chicken with rice or we’ll have that frozen pizza we got last week. If you plan out the main parts of the meal you can decide on the veggies and other small parts last minute. This also makes you away of what you need to pull out of the freezer so you’re not running around last minute.

Simplifying lunches is also pretty similar. You can go whole hog and meal prep for the week on Sunday so you just need to grab and go. For those of us who aren’t quite that organized just deciding on what you’ll bring and prepping parts of your lunch can totally change the game. I try to prep my fruit and veggies I bring such as portioning out my baby carrots and cutting up melon.

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!


17 Places to Find Free Moving Boxes

Moving is a pain in the butt. We're still trying to figure out where we stashed everything. I feel like we're going to be playing hide and seek with our stuff for months. I wanted to make sure that we kept our moving expenses as low as possible. So finding free boxes for our move was really important to me! I realized that there are gobs of places that you can get lots of boxes and some really nice boxes for free. 

Facebook Marketplace



Liquor stores

Recycling drop off points


Friends, family & neighbors


Grocery stores

Find someone who just moved

Your own workplace

Big box stores


Other various retailers like Starbucks, clothing stores and others


You local direct sales person

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!


7 Buildings You Must See in Chicago's Loop

If there is something that Chicago does amazingly well it's architecture. We are the home of the skyscraper and amazing architects like Frank Lloyd Wright to name just a few of Chicago's architectural achievements. With great architecture there are many buildings that you need to add to your visit list it can be pretty overwhelming. I've got 7 buildings in The Loop that you should make must see if you're visiting or if you've lived in Chicago your entire life. 

Union Station

Open since 1925, Union Station remains Chicago's intercity rail terminal and the largest terminal for commuter trains. It cost $75 million dollars to build, over a billion today. The station's Great Hall is one of my favorite places in the city. It's absolutely stunning, especially after they restored it the last few years. Remember the scene from My Best Friend's Wedding when they were in the train station? That is the Great Hall.

225 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606

Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
The Cultural Center started it's life in 1893 as the central Chicago library. In 1977 it was converted to an arts and culture center. It boasts the title of the nation's first free municipal cultural center and you can still enjoy everything it has to offer for that same low price of $0. From exhibits to performing arts to programs there is always something happening at the Cultural Center. The first of two stunning focal points of the Chicago Cultural Center is the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial. With it's pink marble walls, mosaic floors and stained glass dome it's a sight to behold. Only rivaled by the Preston Bradley Hall with it's white marble and 38 foot Tiffany glass dome, the largest Tiffany dome in the world.

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Monadnock Building

The Monadnock Building has the honor of being known as the tallest load-bearing brick building ever constructed along with at the time of completion being the tallest office building. The north half of the building was designed by the firm of Burnham & Root and built starting in 1891 while the south half was designed by Holabird & Roche and constructed in 1893. You'll find beautiful details inside and outside of this building from the iron stair rails to the designs in the granite outside.

53 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

Rookery Building

Designed by Burnham and Root in 1888 the Rookery Building is considered one of their crowning achievements. It is considered the oldest standing high-rises in Chicago. In addition to being the oldest it was a ground breaking structure with it's "floating" foundation to help steady the tall building on the swampy land that comprises Chicago. When you walk into the building you step in the awe inspiring light court with it's twisting staircase. Throughout the years there have been a number of renovations that have only enhanced the beauty instead of taking it away. The first being completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907 when he was tasked with renovating the interiors of the building.

209 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604

Sears Tower

Some people call this building by it's new nick name, Willis Tower but it will always be the Sears Tower. This 110-story building at the time of completion in 1973 became the tallest building in the world. It held the a title for nearly 25 years and it was the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere for 41 years, until 2014 when the new One World Trade Center topped it. It's straight lines make for pretty amazing photographs.

233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

The Sullivan Center

Originally known as the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building. It was occupied by Carson's for more than a century!! Fun fact it's always been used for retail purposes and currently is home to Target. The building's northwest entrance with it's ornate rotund features that can be seen from both State and Madison were created with beauty that would make people want to come in and shop.

9 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Marshall Field and Company Building

Another famous Chicago building that is for some reason known by another name but will always be Marshall Field's to Chicagoans. Since 2006 it's been the home to Macy's on State Street. This building completed in 1906 takes up an entire city block and clocks in at 13 stories with the store being 7. You'll find two iconic architectural elements. First being Marshall Field's "Great Clock" at the northwest corner of the building at State & Randolph Streets. The second is the gorgeous Louis Comfort Tiffany vaulted ceiling it is the first iridescent glass dome and is the largest glass mosaic of its kind.

111 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602

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!


Why You need a 101 List

Stephanie reminded me earlier in the week that we are halfway through our THIRD 101 in 1001 list! It's pretty amazing to think about the fact that we are on our third list. Pretty sure Kevin thought I was nuts to do a third one. I think 101 lists are the best thing ever. I think everyone should be making 101 in 1001 lists. 

Are you a 101 list veteran? Here are four reasons why you need to make a 101 list immediately. 

Makes you see the bigger picture
So much of the time we get bogged down in the muck of life. We are living for each day and not seeing or working towards our bigger pictures. I can be really guilty of that. A 101 list can make you step back and look at your larger life goals. 

Get the some day things accomplished
Some day we'll take that tour. Some day we'll eat at this restaurant. You can some day yourself to death and you'll never experience anything. A 101 list is amazing way to get those some goals and wishes accomplished.  

It's fun
A 101 list should be fun! Really most of life should be fun, even work. While you need to make sure there are more serious tasks on your 101 list I think a majority of it should be fun. Otherwise what's the point? It will just seem like work then you won't want to work on the list. Fun is a must. 

Good habit of working towards goals

I love goals. Everyone needs goals in their life. A 101 list gives you a nice way to get yourself used to working towards goals. While I take my 101 list very seriously it's not as serious as something like work goals can be. If you have trouble working towards those more serious goals. 

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 Ways to Turn Your Bathroom into a Spa Oasis

When life gets super busy it's nice to have a place in your life that is your escape and oasis. I always find that I enjoy escaping to the bathroom. Not because I'm trying to get away from someone but because I've made my bathroom into my own spa oasis. We all need a calming place why can't your bathroom be it? Do you feel like your bathroom is a spa oasis?

Keep it clean & tidy
First step to making sure that you feel relaxed in your new bathroom oasis is making sure you keep it clean and tidy. If you've got your whole make up collection strewn about the sink area you're not going to be able to relax. I know it stresses me out so I'm sure I can't be the only one.

Pamper yourself
In the recent years the ways to pamper yourself at home have grown exponentially. Now you can find dozens of different masks for your face, feet and everywhere in between. I even have Disney Princess face masks.

Luxurious towels
After you take a luxurious bath or shower it really brings you down when you wrap that scratchy towel around your body doesn't it? Invest in some fluffy, new towels. You can find lovely Turkish towels at lots of different places.

Decorate it
It's amazing how adding some wall art or something decorative to your vanity space can make a room feel more homey and comfortable. I don't have a problem putting photos in the bathroom but I know some people probably feel weird with faces looking at them while they're in the room. I have these great picture ledges that allow for a gallery wall feel without all the work. Adding these touches make the room feel like it's a room you can spend time in.

Upgrade your shower head
This is one thing I can't wait to save up for. I love when I'm at a hotel and they've got the double shower heads or even the rain shower heads. They always make me want to stay in the shower all day they feel so wonderful. This is a really low priced way to make your bathroom feel more luxurious too, with nice looking rain shower heads ranging from $20-$40.

Invest in a robe
I used to have a super comfy terry cloth robe. I could sit in that warm, softness for hours after a great bath or shower.

Add something to your bath
This should be a no brainer! Add your favorite bath bomb or bubble bath. I'm partial to Dr. Teal's different bubble baths. If you don't have a bath tub there are now steamer tabs you can put in the shower too! I haven't tried it yet but I've seen gobs of recipes on Pinterest to make different bath bombs and shower tabs. This is great if you're wanting to make sure you know exactly what's going into those or you have special skin requirements.

Bring in some greenery
I feel like greenery brings almost anything to the next level. As someone who is trying to overcome their not so green thumb I think having a greenery that you don't have to water is a good option too. Back in the day fake plants were really obvious and looked cheesy but now you can find really beautiful fake arrangements. I'm especially a fan of the fake succulent plants. I have one on my desk at work that two people thought was real. So whether alive or fake add some green.

Switch out plastic bottles
There is nothing like seeing all the advertising of your various bath products to bring you back to reality. While you can tuck all of those bottles away there are some that you just can't. So if you can't hide them change them out. A nice pump bottle or jar will jazz up your everyday products. You see fancy glass bottles and jars in the spas and fancy bathrooms so why shouldn't use something like that to make your bathroom feel better.

Make your floors warmer
I hate ceramic floors. Yup I said it. I hate them for two main reasons. Cleaning grout is awful and they're cold as all get out. A cold floor does not make a bathroom feel like a spa oasis. When we ripped out the carpet in our new bathroom I knew we were going to be putting in a vinyl floor. I knew the cleaning would be way simpler plus no cold toes when I step outside of the shower! Add even more warmth with a microfiber or plush rug.

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 Things That Happened This Summer

I feel like this summer has just been nuts. I know I say this every year but when I look back at how many posts I shared the past month and a half clearly it's been another busy one. Maybe even the busiest in a while. Since I've been doing everything but writing here I feel like I should catch everyone up! How has the end of your summer been going? Just as crazy as mine?

What a way to kick off our summer! Early June we actually closed on our place. We didn't move until the end of June so that would give us time to do the couple of really big changes we wanted to make, carpet and paint all the things. Some of changes ended up being more of a pain than we anticipated. Which was super fun! Not. Kevin's dad was the MVP of everything. He retired at the end of May and went whole hog on managing all the things and updating a bunch of stuff around our place. Having people who are construction people in the family is fantastic. We are still working on selling some items as well as organizing and putting away everything. Once things are a little more in place I'll do an after home tour to go along with the before tour

Oh my gosh I was so excited to cross this one off my 101 list! I had an absolute blast. If you didn't see my post about it in June head over. There are some great photos and video of me being fabulous as a mermaid. 

3. Metra Bar Crawl
Another exciting one to cross of my 101 List was the Metra bar crawl. Kevin and I thought it would be a fun thing to invite his brother and wife up to hang out and crawl. We made a whole day out of it. It was a pretty loose and fun crawl since it was just the four of us. If we decided to stay at one place for longer than the hour we did. Had some great food at several places along the way. All in all had a great day. We don't get to see them very often since they live down outside of Peoria so it was nice to spend quality time just the four of us.

4. Celebrating Bill's retirement
Finally got a chance to celebrate Kevin's dad's retirement. Kevin's mom hurt herself earlier in the spring and it escalated into a huge thing with several surgeries and physical therapy. I can't even begin to describe the craziness that it was. She's back to normal but we had to postpone celebrating his retirement since she couldn't walk for a while. They hosted a party down in Canton where Kevin's brother lives and they own a small house. Again it was nice to hang out with his brother and his wife. Very chill weekend except for the construction along the highway home. Bleh.

5. Pampered Chef conference
Got the opportunity to attend Pampered Chef Conference again this year. I was unsure about it since we're trying to cut way back on expenses to pay off the cars. We looked at the budget and were able to make sure I put money aside for it. I wasn't as happy with the main sessions this year as I had been in the past but the smaller tech talks and talking with other consultants was gold this year. Got a chance to see the new products in action which is always good. Can't wait for the new season in just a couple of days!

6. Family reunion in Minnesota
This year the family reunion was being held in Woodbury Minnesota. We decided to take a couple extra days on the front and back end of the weekend to see some of the Twin Cities sights. This was really the first time since we'd lived up there that I had been back for more than a few hours and for more than just going directly to someone's home. It felt very odd. There were a lot of things that the way I remember them is so not how they actually are. Then there are some things that were so vaguely familiar it was like a dream. I guess your memory when from when you're in elementary school can be pretty faulty!

The reunion itself was great as usual. I worked hard to update the photo albums and everyone was super excited to see the last 17 years of photos added. Yeah it was a lot of work haha. There was lots of food, beer and singing as there always is. I feel like the day and a half of the official reunion is just never enough time with family. Especially I see my aunts and uncles getting older I want to spend as much time as I can with them!

7. Remembered Dad
August actually started off a little tough for me. I knew that it was the 5th anniversary of Dad's death. I feel like even though there were wonderful things in the week and a half leading up to it the first days of the month were hard for me mentally. Especially being at the reunion the weekend before the weekend of his death anniversary. We put the pinwheels and flowers on his grave, my sisters and put flowers on other family and friends graves. 

This year Lane and Elowen really wanted to help me put the flowers on everyone's headstone. I can't get over sometimes how smart Lane is. He was asking a lot of very tough and insightful questions for a four year old. Next to the section where my family is the Salvation Army has their section (small world right?) I always put a flower on the stones of loved ones of two of my Salvation Army friends. Lane was asking all about the flowers from the Army's celebration earlier in the summer, why were the graves the same but not exactly the same, who exactly were the people we were putting flowers on, how do I know those people and so many others. He very much wanted to put the flowers on the stones because they were important to my friends. It was super sweet. 

8. Market Days & Retro with Steph and Tara
The annual Market Days and Retro on Roscoe day with Steph and Tara. Always a top notch day. An exhausting day for sure. I joined them after our cemetery visit, which was exactly what I needed and have needed every year since 2014. We started out the day playing the "crack machine" for at least a good couple of hours. There was an attempt to wade through Market Days which failed miserably since it was super jam packed. More so than the past couple of years.

We decided to hop in an Uber. Last year we walked the two miles for some stupid reason but this year we were smart. There was some enjoyment of a few bands and food. Since the sound guy for Sixteen Candles was terrible that night we didn't go right up front like we usually do. Decided that we were going to hang out at a restaurant across the street instead. As usual it was a great day. Also I cannot get over how amazing we look in this photo. 

9. Curling Iron class with Jackie
For several months Jackie and I have been trying to find a Dabble class that works for both our schedules and that we want to take. We finally got one scheduled! We took Curling Iron 101 with Gold Plaited. I was really excited to finally learn how to curl my hair with my flat iron and get more comfortable with my T3 Curling Iron. I feel like I definitely walked away accomplishing what I had hoped to. They even sent us a mini workbook with everything we learned. It will come in handy when I'm finally able to have time and curl my hair two weeks from now or so. 

10. Scrapbook Expo
I had been looking forward to the Scrapbook Expo the entire summer. Mom's friend from Houston came in for a visit, mom, my friend Pam along with one of her scrapbooking friends and I all did the whole weekend deal where we stayed at the hotel and did all the big evening events. It was a blast! I had so much fun working on new projects, old projects and just hanging out with everyone. The classes I took this year were amazing. I had so many epiphany moments about simple techniques it's was nuts. I feel really pumped and ready to get going on even more projects in my new craft room. Although after the event I do have more to add to the room haha. 

11. First get together with work friends at our place
Earlier in the summer I had scheduled a potluck with some of my friends from the Army from my break time and lunch crews. I figured if we put in the calendar for the end of the summer we'd be able to get our place in better order by then. We were able to get the living room, dining room and kitchen looking fabulous and somewhat normal. The evening was so much fun. I had seen almost everyone at least once since I left the Army but it was so nice to all be together having a good meal. Catching up, telling stories and just hanging out. Such a good evening. Everyone loved the new table as well!

12. Babysitting all nephew and nieces
I took on the supreme challenge of babysitting the nephew and nieces by myself for almost an entire evening! Mom came the last part of the evening after her class. Overall it was a good evening. We walked up the street and played in the backyard. Juliette is really starting to scoot around so that made it interesting trying to push Lane on the swing, hold Elowen on the hanging bars and make sure Juliette didn't eat too much grass. We enjoyed PB&J sandwiches while we watched Frozen. Of course dinner and a movie with extra marshmallows were an aunt Betsy is here special. There were some meltdowns leading up and during bedtime. Luckily Mom was there to divide and conquer those situations. It was fun to hang out with them though. 

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!


5 Things to Automate So You Don't Waste Time

Life is always so busy. Anyone who says it's not is either lying to you or themselves. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have plenty going on in their life. When you've got tons or not so much happening in life it can be hard to keep up with things. Automating various parts of your life can really help and take some little stresses off your plate as well as cutting back on wasted time. We could all use a little more extra time in our lives right? Do you automate any part of your life? I would love to hear it since I'm sure I could automate that part of my life as well. 

Life is always so busy. Anyone who says it's not is either lying to you or themselves. I don't think I know anyone who doesn't have plenty going on in their life. When you've got tons or not so much happening in life it can be hard to keep up with things. Automating various parts of your life can really help and take some little stresses off your plate as well as cutting back on wasted time. Musings of a Museum Fanatic #organizing #timemanagement #improving

Social Media
This one might not matter for most people but for bloggers this is a really easy one that can be taken care of. There are several different ways to automate your social media. I use programs such as IFTTT to share blog posts on social media when they post. Really IFTTT is a gold mine of automation. I would highly recommend if you haven't check it out. I use it to automate photos to my Dropbox as well. Another one I use to automate my social media is Hootsuite. I know it's not totally automated and I still have to develop the content but it's so much easier to do that all at once for a week or so rather than every day. 

This is something that I feel like everyone should do with their bills if they're able to. I know I am terrible at remembering when something needs to get paid and now everything is on a different time schedule so you've got probably a dozen things that are due at different times. It's a mess. By having automatic bill pay for things such as our Verizon bill or Netflix it takes the remembering out of the equation. I do like to go in every couple of months and make sure everything is ok. Don't want to be overpaying for a year and not realize it!

Doctor Appointments
I always make my annual appointments for the next year before I leave the office. It makes things so much easier and that way you won't end up at the end of the next year not having gone for a check up and used your wellness check up if you have that benefit. This is also really useful for other appointments you make regularly. I have been doing this with the trainers when I work out. If we don't schedule the next one or two sessions there is a good chance I'll forget to and accidentally blow it off. Then it's three weeks later and you haven't worked out. Not good!

Who ever thought you'd be able to schedule a birthday or anniversary card? I like to use Paperless Post. Early last year I sat down and scheduled out birthday and anniversary greetings for all my friends and family for the next several years. It took a little longer since I was doing multiple years at once but doing just one year didn't take long at all. I really like the ecards since we're trying to cut back on extra stuff around I'm not giving someone extra stuff in their house. I always feel bad about throwing away cards too. It's a tough one. So I'm saving someone else that anguish too haha. 

I don't know why I didn't know this until recently but there are a lot of email providers that will let you schedule your emails. This can potentially be a game changer especially if you have side hustles. I've found it to be helpful when it comes to parts of my Pampered Chef business. I've been writing out the couple of emails I send to hosts before the show and scheduling them to go out at specific times. This way I don't forget if things go crazy during the week, which they always seem to do, I've kept up with my host and will have a fantastic show. 

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!


7 Tips for Organizing Your Crafts

This past weekend I was at the Scrap Expo in Schaumburg. Mom and I went whole hog this year and did the weekend deal where we got a hotel and the big evening events as part of a lovely package. I took several fantastic classes and enjoyed spending the weekend with my mom and friends. Now that I'm feeling recovered from the late nights, we were up scrapbooking until midnight, we're wild huh? 

I was showing Kevin all the projects I worked on, the swag I got and purchased (all well under my budget!). He was wondering where I was going to put all of it in my craft room. I told him I was working on organizing the room and am implementing these tips so my crafts will be super organized. 

Crafts can really take on a life of their own. Especially if you do more than one type of craft. Organizing your crafts is super important so you don't waste anything. I've got 7 Tips for Organizing Your Crafts on Musings of a Museum Fanatic #crafts #scrapbook #organizing

Sell it, trade it, or give it away
This seems to be the number one tip on all my organization posts theses days but it's so true. We have so much more stuff than we need and I know I'm really guilty about that too. Especially when it comes to my craft supplies. What can I say I went a little crazy on some cricut mystery boxes haha. I'm working on selling craft items I won't use. I've already had several people take me up on it! If you can sell them or just don't want to take the time to sell it donating it to some place is great. I know kindergarten teachers I know have wanted craft supplies for projects in the past.

Figure out what and how you use it
This is not something I really considered before I was working on a scrapbook last year and realized that my stickers were in a out four different places. I thought I went through and found all the ones I wanted to use then later discovered more in another area that would have been awesome for the project. Having items grouped together by how you're going to use them us a life saver.

I also have been taking this to a new level. Say I'm working on a Disney scrapbook I'll go through all the paper, stickers and other pieces i think I'll be using for the scrapbook. That way I don't have to keep going back and forth along with digging through all my supplies. Keeps me more organized and more efficient!

Organize for access
This is an important tip that I've found to be really beneficial. While we were living in the smaller rental my crafts were tucked away everywhere, even in our storage room and at Kevin's parents house! This did not make it easy to complete a project, really it made it pretty impossible to complete any projects. I know that because of space it can be tough to organize with this in mind but maybe you need to go back and see if there are any supplies you can purge then. 

Decide about original packaging
It's either really important to keep the original packing or it needs to be tossed right away because it's a pain in the butt. Stickers are one of those items that I always like to keep in original packaging to protect them. That means they won't loose their sticky or if they're the fancy raised ones they won't be damaged. I also like to keep certain adhesives like little glue dots or adhesive foam pieces in their packages. Most other items make more sense to take out of the packages and store together. The package just gets in the way and takes up more room.

Like with like
This goes along with organizing for access. Be sure to put all your scrapbook items together and not get them all mixed up with your knitting stuff. This makes it so much easier when you're working on developing your projects. You look through all the stickers at once so you know what all you have. This also makes it much easier when you're buying something new, you don't end up buying a new pad of paper when you've got the exact kind already in your stash. 

Pull project materials together
You might think this is the same thing as like with like but it's different. For instance right now I have all of my Disney scrapbook items together in one container since I'm working on a Disney scrapbook. That way I only need to look in one area. It not only organizes a project but also makes it way more efficient too. When I'm completely done with the project I'll return the items to their main home. Stickers with stickers, paper goes with the rest of the paper and so on. Easy peasy. 

Don't pile
One area that I'm really bad at is piling. In all aspects of my life I tend to be a piler. It's something I've been working hard to stop. When it comes to craft materials piling can really make a mess of everything. I've found that especially when it comes to my scrapbook materials it can make things crazy. Piling paper is never a good idea. 

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!


6 Tips for Your Chicago Visit

Visiting a new city can be lots of fun but also daunting. You want to make the most of your trip, do everything and see everything. It can be tough to make sure that you're making the most out of your trip. Chicago is an amazing city and you can really miss out on a lot if you focus on certain areas and things to do. I've got 6 tips for you to make the most of your Chicago visit whether you're visiting for your first time, 100th time or even if you're a local. 

Get out of the Loop
The Loop is one of my favorite places in the city. It is the center of everything amazing Chicago, architecture, restaurants and so much more. Even though there is so much in the Loop there is even more to the city! Fantastic neighborhoods with lots to do, see and eat. Can you see an amazing free zoo if you stay in the Loop nope you have to head north to Lincoln Park Zoo. What about checking out the National Museum of Mexican Art? You'd have to head west. 

Get out of the city

If you want to experience even more of the Chicago area get out of the city itself. Most people don't even think to get out of the city proper but they're missing out. You can hop on the Metra and head in any direction and find some great suburban downtowns and stop. If you've got a car you can really explore! I highly recommend Arlington Heights, Evanston, Geneva and Elmhurst to start with but there are so many to enjoy. You can even make a day of it with a weekend Metra pass and stop at every stop!

Visit more than the tourist traps

There are certain areas and sites that people flock to. Everyone must have a photo with the Bean! We must visit the Shedd! While visiting the tourist trap sights is well and good there are so many more iconic places to visit. I think everyone should put the Chicago History Museum at the top of their museum list. How can you visit a city and not learn about it's amazing history? Want a gorgeous photo? Head to Buckingham Fountain in the morning. Especially on weekdays you'll be able to get great shots with little to no people. 

Enjoy the ethnic food scene

Many people enjoy the food scene in Chicago and head to the high ranking places. With Chicago being a place that people have migrated to throughout history it's ethnic neighborhoods have been very well defined through history. It's ethnic history is such an important part. You can find amazing restaurants in all of these neighborhoods. Head to Devon Ave. for some amazing Indian food. Chinatown will present you with gobbs of delicious Chinese. Andersonville will take you to Sweden. The list goes on and on. 

Shop off of Michigan Avenue

Lots of people get super excited about shopping on Michigan Avenue during their Chicago trip. Michigan Avenue is full of the higher end stores and most of them are ones that you can find everywhere like the Disney Store or Victoria Secret. If you're looking to shop at these type of stores I would suggest doing it at home. There is a good chance you can find the same items plus there is a good change you'll be paying less because of the high Cook County tax rate. 

I recommend heading to other neighborhoods to find local shops. You'll find some amazing one of a kind art stores, clothing shops and other fun stores. Some of my favorites are off Armitage in Lincoln Park. Plus certain times of year, especially around the holidays, it can be treacherous to shop on Michigan Avenue with the sidewalks jam packed with shoppers!

Enjoy the small museums

I love all museums but most people tend to only focus on the heavy hitters like the Art Institute and the big ones on Museum Campus. There are so many smaller museums where you really get to feel and enjoy Chicago. You can find museums about all sorts of topics from surgical science to grand house museums to money In addition to being really cool and getting in-depth a lot of the smaller museums tend to be free or way cheaper than the large museums. 

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!


5 Cheap Small Things to Change in a New House

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Moving and purchasing a home has been a huge financial undertaking. Since we purchased an older property that really hadn't been updated at all we aren't able to make all the changes we want to right away. We are making a point to budget $50-$100 a month for making small changes on a continuous basis. Most people think that the best way to update a house is to make huge changes like redoing the kitchen all at once. There are lots of small, cheap changes that you can do that will really make it feel more updated. 

Light fixtures
This is one way we're updating our place right now. There are several fixtures that are straight out of 1991 in our home. They don't just scream I'm 28 years old they also hang down and make the rooms and hallways smaller. You can find simple, and nice light fixtures for $15-20 a piece or sometimes there two per package for that price. 

Bathroom hardware
Since bathroom trends have changed very drastically through the years bathroom hardware can really date a home. We were able to find nice looking stainless steel pieces online. If you check out places like Home Depot online you can find lots of good clearance deals. We could have had better deals but alas with Kevin and his nickel allergy we had to go for stainless steel. Even if you don't do all towel bars and toilet paper holders you could find those pieces on clearance for about $10 a piece! We even saw full sets for really good prices too.

Line cabinets
We discovered when we moved in that the shelves in some of the cabinets were a little worse for wear. Any big cabinet overhaul is a few years and many saved dollars away so we decided on a small update. Adding bright white or a colorful shelf liner hides the wear in the cabinets and gives you a clean, new surface. Shelf liner is very budget friendly at about $8 a roll for basic types and about $12 for fancier types. 

Add storage
While this seems like it could be a large undertaking there are ways to do it so it's budget friendly. We wanted to add more storage in the closets in my room for my craft stuff, Pampered Chef materials and all of our family history photos and documents. We found Closetmaid shelves at a great price at Menards. Spending just a little bit on the shelves made a huge difference. If you already have shelves but have other items you need to store on them better I love these plastic bins. I actually came across them at TJMaxx so I was able to use a house warming gift card I got from a friend. Bonus!

Paint cabinets
Another room in the house that everyone would love to update right away and can really make a place seem outdated is the kitchen. We all know that the kitchen is the most expensive room to update though. If you've got really good cabinets and a good layout why not just update the color with a little cabinet paint. You can completely change the entire look and feel of the kitchen with just this one little change. Plus with the comeback of white and colored cabinets it's the perfect way to be on trend without forking over lots of dough. 

What are some cheap, small changes you've made to your home? 

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!


5 Unique Chicago Museums

In Chicago you'll find every type of museum. From natural history museums to science to contemporary art museums. While these museums are all amazing it's those unique museums that really catch your attention. Chicago is no stranger to unique and crazy museums. All of these unique museums are open to the public. Some of them have an entrance fee so be sure to check out all the details on their websites before heading over for your visit. 

Oak Brook, IL 

The Lizzadro Museum is currently in the process of moving locations but it will be back open this fall. If you're visiting from out of town this fall you should definitely add it to your list. Lapidary is actually the art of cutting and polishing stone. So you can only imagine how beautiful an entire museum is! I absolute was astounded and loved seeing all the pieces that were so detailed. It still blows my mind at the artistry of it.

Busy Beaver Button Co. Museum
Open: Monday - Friday 10-4 or by appointment
3407 W. Armitage Ave Chicago, IL 60647

You'll find the world's only pin-back button museum in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. With over 30,000 buttons in their collection it ranges from 1896 when the pin back button was patented to the present. There are buttons from political campaigns to art to music. I'm not sure if they have a gift shop but if they do you know it would be amazing. 

Wednesday, 11 - 5
Thursday: 11 - 7 (CLAW Free Day, No Admission Fee)
Friday: 11 - 7
Sunday & Saturday: 11 - 5
6418 N Greenview Ave. Chicago IL, 60626

I must warn you straight away that the Leather Archive and Museum could be considered a not safe for work website to view. Their mission is "Making leather, kink, BDSM, and fetish accessible through research, preservation, education and community engagement." You can only imagine what is in their collection and the interesting things they come across. Their exhibits take you through the history of the sub-culture as well as having several temporary exhibits throughout the year. If you check out their website you'll even find online exhibits.

Monday - Saturday 9 - 3 
9513 W. Higgins  Rosemont, IL. 60018

When you say the name Donald E. Stephens most people think of the convention center but even if they've been to the convention center they don't realize that this little museum is right around the corner. In the 1960s Stephens took a European trip and discovered the art of the Hummel figurines. He worked to collect rare pieces and made sure that they would be preserved and on exhibit for everyone to see. 

Monday - Friday 9:30 - 5
Saturday - Sunday 10 - 5
1524 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60610

Right along Lake Shore Drive in the Gold Coast you'll find a stunning historic landmark mansion that houses the International Museum of Surgical Science. This 65 year old museum is devoted to the history of surgical sciences and the history of the International College of Surgical Science. Not only can you find the history of surgical science here but you'll also be able to see and enjoy the history of the home itself.

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!


5 Tricks to Help You Get Dressed Quickly

5 Tricks to Help You Get Dressed Quickly
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When we were living in Roselle and I had to commute almost an hour it was rough getting myself out of the door in the morning. I didn't want to wake up any earlier that was a definite no go but I didn't want to start work later either. So I had to be really smart about my morning routine. So I worked on figuring out how I could simplify and make getting dressed more efficient in the morning. What does getting dressed in the morning look like for you? Do you have an airtight routine that gets you out the door quickly or do you like a leisurely routine?

Know the weather
This can be a really important one especially when it's January in the Chicago area. You never know if it's going to be sunny and 33 degrees or if it's going to be a freak snow storm. You'll always want to be prepared so be smart and always check the weather. I tend to check it at night when I'm doing the next tip and that morning. You never know what weather changes can happen during the night!

Lay out your clothes
Preparation is the key to being ready in a jiffy. I've taken to laying out my clothes the night before. Not only do I make sure to lay out my clothes I don't take an hour to pick them out. I've been working on simplifying my clothes so I don't have too many different pants, work or casual, so that's a quick grab. I make sure to pick a top quickly too. They say that's why Steve Jobs always wore the same outfit so he wouldn't have to waste so much time on useless things like picking out clothes. Even my socks and underwear get laid out the night before. I know it seems like these would take no time at all but it's much easier to grab one pile of clothes than opening multiple drawers.

Simplify accessories
Are you someone who has dozens of necklaces and you can't even tell which one starts where? Do you have enough earrings to equip a marching band? Simplifying accessories can really make getting dressed oh so simple. I prefer pieces that I know work with many different types of outfits, casual and business. That way I can use a piece I love all the time. This helps to make sure something will be in style for more than one season as well. Even better is when you take a couple seconds to layout your necklaces and other accessories with your outfit for the next day. 

Check/prepare your purse & bag
Day to day my work bag and purse really contain the same contents so there isn't much need to check or change anything. There are some days though when I do need to change up my purse, like when I head to the city for a professional meeting or I'm visiting other archives. I don't take my full wallet downtown so I take time to pull out some money, my ID and other items that I know I'll need into a smaller wallet. Prepping like this the night before will allow time for those missed items to be found, like my Ventra card I always seem to be misplacing! 

Cut back on mirror time
Time spent it front of the mirror with your hair and make up can suck up so much time it's insane. I have long hair so when I need to wash it in the morning just blow drying it can suck up tons of time. Having a good tool like my CHI hair dryer can save you time. I've also cut my make up routine down to almost nothing and on some days nothing. Having a quick and easy make up routine that I can put on in less than five minutes is a life saver. Invest in products that do multiple things or are easy to apply. 

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!