Musings of a Museum Fanatic: February 2019

2.22.2019

6 Ways to Maximize a Small Apartment


Living in a rental has it's perks. Usually you don't have to shovel or take care of something big when it breaks but there are definitely some downsides to rentals. When you rent it usually means the space is smaller so you really need to maximize that space. I've learned some tricks the past few years to make the most out of a temporary smaller space. 

Get Rid of Stuff
First and it's a big one do you need all the stuff you have? After we moved to our current place we did a lot of getting rid of stuff. We filled up so many boxes for a garage sale, took lots to consignment stores, shredded old documents and pitched things that needed to be pitched. When you start looking through your stuff and seeing what you really need or don't need you'll find that there is a lot you can get rid of.

Multi Use Items
One of my favorite ways to maximize the space we have (and it cuts down on clutter) is to purchase items that are multi use. This is something I find especially important when it comes to kitchen tools and gadgets. There are so many one use gadgets out there it's tough to resist them. While that strawberry huller shaped like the strawberry is super cute it's kind bulky and you can only use it for that one thing. I recommend investing in something more like the Core N' More which can be used for hulling, scooping and all sorts of other things. Keep multi use in mind for other things around the house like cleaners and storage tools. 

Go high (vertical storage)

This one actually can go hand in hand with the improving your closet. While the square footage of an apartment might be small you still have the opportunity to use the height of the room to your advantage. Use tall shelving units or attach things to the wall.  

Improve Closet Storage
When it comes to a small apartment a lot of times you'll have a decent sized closets but the downside is that they usually don't have more than one shelf. We maximized the closets in our current apartment's closets by adding removable shelving units, we went with the Kallax shelving from IKEA. I found that the size of the openings is perfect for things like my crafts and Pampered Chef materials and products. Maybe a regular bookshelf will work for the storage you need or since it's your clothes closet just some storage at the bottom. Any way you slice it instead of just piling things in an open closet really make that space work for you. 

Keep colors simple
Color can make a huge difference in how big or small a room feels. It can also mess with the way the light is in the room and give the room a weird vibe. Stick with light more neutral tones to make the room feel as big as possible. As awesome as that dark blue statement wall is it can really make a room feel small. 


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!

2.20.2019

How Long to Keep Important Documents


One thing that tends to pile up in most people's homes is papers. Papers of any sort, tax records, bills, mail we intend to read but never get around to reading. Yes, sometimes we're just lazy about it I know I'm guilty of that. Most of the time I think this paper works hangs around because we're just not sure how long we're supposed to keep it. With winter out there now is a great time to go through those drawers of papers you're not sure how long to keep and do some shredding!


Forever

Forever documents are those that you should probably have in a safe place, like a safe deposit box or a second copy with a family member. They are the really really important ones that you'd be SOL without!
  • Birth and death certificates
  • Wills, living wills, and powers of attorney
  • Social security card
  • Marriage license
  • House deed and mortgage documents
  • Any insurance policy related documents
  • Vehicle titles and loan documents
  • Pension plan documents

5+ Years

These are the second most important documents that you'll want to keep on hand. There are conflicting views on how long to keep certain papers like tax returns but with these important papers it's better to be safe and keep it a little longer than less.
    • Tax Records (7 years) 
    • Canceled checks/receipts relating to taxes (7 years) 
    • Home related documents, purchase, sale, improvement 
    • Loan documents (until the loan is paid off)
    • Car titles (until car is sold)
    • Medical bills/claims (7 years)


    1 year

    Now a lot of these papers can be found online and you might not even get a paper version of these anymore. If you do still prefer to handle these through a paper version be sure to hang on to them for a year.
    • Paycheck stubs
    • Credit card statements
    • Bank statements
    • Cancelled checks


    1-3 Months

    • Utility bills
    • Sales receipts for minor purchases
    • Bank deposit slips
    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!

    2.18.2019

    5 Things I Actually Rock At


    I can be really tough on myself some times. I think we all are pretty tough on ourselves sometimes. We tend to see our faults more often then those things we're really good at. So I thought I'd sit down and give myself a break and share some things that I think I really rock at! I'm sure there are plenty more too. I'd love to hear what you think you really rock at too!

    Research
    This is probably one thing that I'm really really good at that informs several other things I'm really good at. Even before I went into history and museums I was good at research. I love finding out information about everything. Kevin and I might be talking about some random topic and I'll pull out my phone and start researching. There might be a place I want to visit, well you can bet I'm researching everything from what are the best restaurants to what are the must see sights.

    Remembering the most random crap
    I have a ridiculous memory for the most random stuff. I'm sure that in part is what makes me really good at my job but it is definitely interesting when it comes to outside stuff. When I go into deep online Facebook stalking research mode on Facebook and LinkedIn it's amazing how much I'll remember. I'm totally that person sitting there talking with people trying not to bring up something I noticed in deep research mode. I can remember the most random things that family has mentioned or done, it's pretty funny sometimes.

    My Job
    Sometimes I think people underestimate me since it took me years to find full time work in my field. Heck sometimes I underestimate myself for that reason. The past several years I've really gotten my confidence back up when it comes to my job. I've created amazing exhibits that people love, this past summer I created a kids activity book that was super cool and so many other things. Now I'm in a great position with a large international company feeling pretty awesome about my skills.

    Cooking
    Now don't get me wrong I'm not a Michelin ranked chef or anything but I'm quite a good one. I need to work on my presentation skills not sure that I'd get any points on Chopped for that but I think they'd enjoy my flavors. I really enjoy cooking most of the time too.

    Planning
    You've probably guessed this one since every time I do something I talk about how important planning is to the process. I love to plan. I'm a think ahead think through all the things type of person. Whether it's for a grocery trip or something huge like a two week trip I plan my little heart out. I've gotten pretty good at it too. I should probably moonlight as some sort of planner like a travel agent or event planner. 

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

    2.13.2019

    Winter Goals Update


    I'm feeling so much better about my goals right now than I was last season! I already have three crossed off. With that being said I haven't really done much on three of the other goals so I'm at both extremes this time around. How are your goals going? I wanna hear all about it. 


    WINTER GOALS


    1. Create a Chicago Top 50 Bucket list  
    I started working on the list! I'm about half way there. I've really been taking time and making sure that what I'm putting on it is only the most iconic Chicago experiences.

    2. Finish video recap of 2018 and Elowen's 2nd Birthday
    Did both of these early on in January! I love doing the year in review ones they've been so much fun. Elowen has changed a ton in the past year so it was pretty neat to see those changes. 

    3. Complete the three Beatles Puzzles
    Rocked those puzzles! I'm plowing ahead and have started working on another. Since doing all of our puzzles is a 101 list item I'm not slowing down. Feels great to get the three on my winter goals list done though. 

    4. Identify 3 things that stress me out that I can simplify
    I feel like it's been difficult for me to think of things around my life I can simplify. I try to keep things simple already ... by simple I mean most of the time I'm lazy about things so I don't do more ha. 

    5. Figure out three classic wardrobe pieces I want to invest in
    I have no ideas about these guys yet. Any suggestions?

    6. Create three worksheets to share on the blog
    I kicked off 2019 with a goals worksheet! I think I'll probably be doing one to go with my Chicago bucketlist so I really need to get working on it!

    7. Do my first two week time spent tracking
    While I haven't full on tracked my time I've been much more aware of how I'm spending it. Still can't cross it off yet but at least I'm working towards that!

    8. Complete two more courses from Genius Blogger's Toolkit
    I've been slowly working my way through one course. I need to just make it a priority just like number 7. 

    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!

    2.11.2019

    5 Must Read Books for Personal Development

    5 Must Read Books for Personal Development by Musings of a Museum Fanatic


    ***this post may contain affiliate links***

    Ever since I started listening to books through Scribd on my phone I've been devouring book after book. Lately I've been on an non-fiction kick. Especially adulting type of books. There have been a couple of books that multiple people have told me throughout my life that I MUST read. Well I finally read them and I can see why they are so popular and influential. I finally understand why these books are so recommended! They are great reads. Add these to your list and adult on!

    I didn't realize before starting this book when it was written. Since it was written in 1936 there are definitely some outdated examples, which as a historian I find hilarious, but the overall themes of it really hold true. This is the perfect book for anyone who has anything to do with people in any part of their life. I have found myself acting differently and in my opinions better when it comes to interacting with people in certain areas of my life. 

    My dad was always recommending this book to me and I finally took time to listen to it. I'm really glad I did. When I was reading this book I was a part of a dysfunctional team so it was an extremely eye opening read. Eye opening and quite ironic at the time. It really called to light a lot of the dysfunctions that were happening and I've vowed to myself not to let those types of bad habits enter my own work life again. 

    We've all been loving on Marie Kondo on Netflix lately but if you haven't picked up the actual book yet you better get it together and read it. This is one I read right after it came out. While I have not Marie Kondoed everything in our condo ... yet ... there are lots of areas that have benefited. My socks and t-shirts have been in great shape since 2015. While the method might seem a bit out there at first when you really think about it figuring out if something gives you joy or just makes your life more stressful and chaotic is really helpful. 

    Kevin and I actually started this book together during a trip to the cottage in Wisconsin but we didn't finish it. I finally got my act together earlier in January and read it again. This was a great book. I really enjoyed Jen's frankness and get out of your own way advice. There were so many duh and light bulb moments while I was listening to this book.

    This book was different that I was expecting. This book takes you through years of research about who a typical millionaire is and how they got there. While it was first written in the late 1990s I think it very much still applies to today. Hearing about the hyper consumer habits of people with high salaries but are never actually wealthy was super interesting. It definitely put some of my own spending habits into perspective. 

    Have you been reading any good books on more adulting type of subjects lately? Let me know I need to add more to my reading list!

    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!


    2.08.2019

    Romantic Disney Date Playlist

    Valentine's Day is just around the corner. I'm sure if you haven't booked a dinner reservation or decided on your plans you should probably get that taken care of. Even if you are frantically figuring out your plans don't worry about that romantic playlist. I've got you covered with the perfect Disney romantic date night playlist. Perfect for Valentine's Day, a date night or just when you need a little romance in life.





    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!

    2.06.2019

    A Look Inside Chicago Architecture


    Chicago is the home to amazing architecture. I mean come on we were the first to build skyscrapers and Frank Lloyd Wright. We have iconic buildings and beautiful stately homes. There are probably hundreds of tours you can take that marvel over the exteriors of these gorgeous buildings. People don't always get the chance to see the beautiful interiors of the buildings though.

    From events like Open House Chicago to tours to just being in a building for an appointment I've been collecting interior shots of all sorts of buildings throughout the city. Here are some of my favorites that I've collected the past few years.


    Brewster Apartments
    2800 N Pine Grove Ave

    Cadillac Palace Theatre
    151 W Randolph Street


    Chicago City Council Chamber
    121 N LaSalle Street


    Chicago Cultural Center
    78 E Washington St


    The Richard H. Driehaus Museum
    40 E Erie Street


    Elks National Memorial and Headquarters
    2750 N Lakeview Avenue


    First United Methodist Church
    77 W Washington Street


    John Hancock Center
    875 N Michigan Avenue


    The Monroe Building
    104 S Michigan Avenue



    The Rookery Building
    209 S LaSalle Street


    Macy's on State Street
    111 N State Street

    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!

    2.04.2019

    6 Productivity Tips For Working From Home


    While I don't work full time from home I am able to work from home some days plus with the blog and my Pampered Chef business I do a lot of work at home. Back in January we had the  polar vortex like weather and I ended up working from home a good chunk of the week. I really had to make sure my productivity was at max capacity that week. Since I started working more at home I've learned a few tips that make my productivity go through the roof.

    When you wake up, get up
    I've gotten into the bad habit on a lot of the weekends where I lay about in bed for far longer than I'm going to admit and mess around on the phone. This is something that I have actually caught myself starting to do on the couple of days I've worked at home. Don't let yourself get into those bad habits. You can mess up your whole day if you do. If you need a little more structure to it keep your normal routine even just don't walk out the door!

    Dress for the occasion
    Keeping with your routine is making sure you don't stay in your PJs! I'm not sure exactly what it is about just wasting away the day in my PJs. It's like there is relaxation just built into them. By getting dressed and making sure you're not in your PJs that makes working from home so much easier. Now don't worry I'm not saying you have to put on a suit. Jeans and a t-shirt are totally fine. I always feel fresh and ready to go when I get dressed in my new clothes for the day.

    Location, location, location
    Location is one of those things that for some people can really make a difference. Some people need to be working at a desk or table while some people can lounge on the couch and work. You might need to even get out of the house and camp out at a new place like your local library. Figure out what your optimal working location is and rock that space. If you work from home often you might even want to designate a certain space. Such a desk that is specific to you and your work that no one else should be using.

    Schedule
    I mentioned it above but keeping a schedule is really important. It's super easy to get all oh I'll just take a little bit longer of a break and I'll work a little later. Or I'll just mess on Pinterest for a little bit before sitting down and writing a new blog post. I've found that when I work from home on my work work stuff and I keep my schedule the same as if I was at work it's a very productive day. When I'm carving out days for working on blog stuff I set up an outline of the day, such as an hour for writing, then spending time on social media creation, etc. Keeping those schedules can really keep you on task.

    Make sure to move
    I've found that I sit waaaaay more when I'm doing work at home. At work I'm always getting up and walking back to the archive but when I'm doing work at home it's all computer work. Not only does it totally tank my step count for the week it's not good for me to be sitting that much. Earlier this week I made a point to get up and do something for 5 minutes each 1-1.5 hours. Whether it was put a few things away, wash a couple of dishes or just do a couple of laps around our condo. It make a big difference in how I felt at the end of the day. Don't forget to move.

    Be preparedOne would think that this would be totally obvious but not always. Working at home instead of at the office? Make sure to double check that you're bringing home everything you need and enough work to keep you busy during your time at home. Work at home normally? Make sure that you have everything you need at the beginning of the week. Don't let yourself not be productive because you don't have enough ink to get through what you need to or you don't have what you need for your projects.

    Do you work from home? What do you do and what trick do you use to be super productive?

    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!

    2.01.2019

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8


    It's a new year and that usually means new styles in the stores. This Christmas and winter season has definitely been a doozy when it comes to the crazy items out there. I've found some great finds for the first Do People Actually Buy This post of 2019. 

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    There is so much going on with these boots so we'll break it down. First off we'll start with the sequins. While a shoe totally covered in sequins could be a little much the duel color choice makes it a bit eek. Then you have the fact that it's not just the boot of the shoe but the heel as well. Then you realize that this bootie is actually open toe too. Eek!

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    When I saw these bad boys you couldn't actually see the laces. So I walked up and was all oh black gym shoes then flip it over and BAM! It looks like someone ripped off the arm to a stuffed animal and just taped it on to the shoe. 

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    Overall I actually don't mind this vibrant little cross body purse. Compared to some of the offenders I have caught through the years this one isn't bad. Mainly because the rainbow is so crazy bright it's how this one made it to the list.

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    I am still stunned at the scrunchy trend being back in full force. I never thought that one would make an appearance again. Since it did I've seen some pretty ridiculous scrunchies. These are two of those. Not only is the style crazy they were $9 a piece!!! I couldn't believe someone would pay that much for ONE scrunchy. Ridiculous. 

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    Did someone steal the arms from a Muppet? That is all I can think about when I see this little open cardigan. Nope. Plus when attempted to put this cardigan back on the hook the loops got caught on my jacket and then on the hanger. It was a hot mess. Nope.

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    We all know how I feel about pom poms. I've talked about it many many times before in many different posts how I've feel about them. Who would want these grazing against your neck?! I'm dying over here as I think about that while I'm typing. BLEH!!!

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    I'm not sure who decided this season that furry purses are a thing. There are so many things wrong with a furry purse, especially in the winter. This purse seems more like something my niece would love but it was definitely in the adult handbag section. 

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    If you really must put something furry on your shoe why must it look like a rats nest? I just wanted to take a brush to these shoes. Plus that extra that hangs over probably gets between your toes.

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    Found these bad boys in the men's section! I love the idea of them but they were super thick and heavy. I've never know a guy to wear that heavy of pajamas. 

    Do People Buy This?! Volume 8

    This jacket looks and feels like it's made out of a garbage bag a shiny one too boot. On the plus side people will hear you coming! 

    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!