Musings of a Museum Fanatic: 2020

2.26.2020

6 Truths About Cleaning

Moving into a new home has led to completely having to rework how we clean. There is much more when it comes to floors, bathrooms, trim and just all around everything that needs to be cleaned regularly. No matter how much space you have or don't have there are definitely some evident truths about cleaning. 
6 Truths About Cleaning by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Your house never looks cleaner than when there is company coming over
We tend to pile things in our house. Kevin and I are getting better at it but there tends to be random things like piles of stuff from Kevin's pocket at the end of the day or a pile of papers I'm working on. While we're working on not piling things it's amazing how much cleaner our house gets when someone is coming over. Even when it's our parents. 

I feel like we should just have visitors over every single week then it would be great motivation to make sure everything is put away and clean all the time!

Cleaning is the perfect way to avoid doing something
Do you know how many times I've vacuumed to avoid writing a blog post? Probably several dozen times since I've started my blog. Doing your taxes? Oh that bathroom is looking like it needs a good scrubbing. 

It will never be totally clean
Well there are some people, like Stephanie, who somehow have everything miraculously organized and clean. The rest of us mere mortals have realized that really things will never be totally clean. We live in our homes and sometimes that means getting a little messy or even a little dirty. 

And it's ok if it's never really totally clean
It's very freeing to not feel like it has to be perfect. Give yourself a break! Maybe the kids came home and it's like a tornado went through the living room. That's ok! Don't get down on yourself. It's life happening and that's wonderful. Enjoy the time with the kids. Maybe it's your husband plopping a bunch of papers on the kitchen table. It's ok!

Cleaning is always better when listening to 90s music
It doesn't matter if it's 90s rock like the Foo Fighters or some fantastic 90s pop. Cleaning is just way better when done to 90s music. Fact of life. 

The more you try to clean the messier things can get
I wish this one wasn't true but alas sometimes it can be! The first couple of times I did the KonMari method the planning was not there. Ended up with a big mess of clothes still on the bed right before we turned in for the night. 

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!

2.24.2020

6 Best Historic Hotels in Chicago

When you think about Chicago architecture your mind usually goes to skyscrapers and Frank Lloyd Wright. Am I right? One of my favorite types of Chicago architecture are the many historic hotels that are around the city. They tend to be unassuming and until you actually walk through their doors you don't see the beauty. Here are my top picks when you're looking for a little history during your stay.



505 N. Michigan Avenue

Built in 1929 this hotel started out as the men's organization, the Medinah Athletic Club. The decor throughout the building is unique and sometimes unexpected. The Assyrian style friezes on the 8th floor took me by surprise when I was there for a conference. They were beautiful. One of the best parts about the hotel is they have an Ipod shuffle you can borrow to take a tour of the historic areas of the building. 



17 E. Monroe Street

This Loop stalwart has been dubbed the longest continuously operating hotel in North America. The first building was built by Potter Palmer for his new bride Bertha in 1871 but burned down not even two weeks later in the Great Chicago Fire. He rebuilt it bigger and better. The first time I went up the escalator into the lobby I almost cried it was so beautiful. 


636 S. Michigan Avenue

While all of the hotels on this list have interesting histories The Blackstone takes the cake when it comes to it's celebrity history. Since it's 1910 opening there have been a number of famous patrons. Al Capone would hold meetings during his hair cut in The Blackstone's barber shop. Multiple presidents from Harding to Kennedy stayed in the appropriately named Suite of Presidents. 




140 E Walton Place

This beaux-art hotel sits on it's throne at the very end of Michigan Ave. You walk into a lobby with sumptuous blue carpet and ornate details all around the room. The Drake and its Palm Court are known as one of if not the best place in the city for an afternoon tea. One thing you might not know is that The Drake was home to the first themed restaurant in the United State, the Cape Cod Room was everyone's favorite seafood place in the 1930s. The iconic sign you see as you head down Lake Shore Drive has been around since the 1940s. 



720 S Michigan Ave

Like it's neighbor The Blackstone the Hilton Chicago has a very presidential past. Since it's 1927 opening every single president has stayed there before leaving office. This gorgeous Beaux-Arts style hotel has been in scenes for a large number of movies including some of my favorites such as My Best Friend's Wedding and Home Alone: Lost in New York. 



1 W. Washington Street

While technically a newbie in name the Reliance Building that houses Staypineapple has been a Chicago institution since 1895. There were some big name architects for this project, John Root started the project and it was finished by Charles B. Atwood. It was one of the first skyscrapers in the Loop to offer amenities such as electricity and phones for it's tenants. Clearly Al Capone had a thing for Chicago hotels since his dentist was housed 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!

2.19.2020

40 Easy Things to Declutter


One of the biggest problems I encountered when Kevin and I first wanted to get rid of excess stuff in our house was where to start. We looked around and were just overwhelmed. I've figured out like many things in life you really just need to start!

I've pulled together a list of 40 easy things to declutter and get rid of right away. The past year every now and then I'll look at the list and make sure I don't have any of these hanging around. What an easy item you always make sure to get out of your home?

40 Easy Things to Declutter by Musings of a Museum Fanatic

  1. Old pillows
  2. Half used make up
  3. Expired make up and toiletries
  4. Clothing with tears
  5. Expired food
  6. Extra plastic bags
  7. Extra glassware
  8. Half used candles
  9. Socks without mates
  10. Hangers from the dry cleaner
  11. Promotional cups
  12. Business cards you haven’t looked at twice
  13. Paint that you don’t have on your walls anymore
  14. Craft supplies you haven’t used and don’t plan on using
  15. Books you won't ever read
  16. Random extra puzzle and game pieces laying around
  17. Take out menus
  18. Holiday decorations you don’t ever put up
  19. Old useless paperwork
  20. Manuals
  21. Single earrings
  22. Old CDs
  23. Magazines
  24. Expired coupons
  25. Tights or nylons you don’t wear
  26. Outdated Electronics
  27. Dried up nail polish
  28. Extra make up brushes you don’t use
  29. Travel sized toiletries
  30. Paper recipes you’ve never tried
  31. Promotional t-shirts
  32. A million extra pens
  33. Old greeting cards
  34. Old loyalty cards
  35. Apps on your phone you don’t use
  36. Half used cleaning products
  37. Old medication
  38. Outdated jewelry
  39. Old electronic cables
  40. Clothes you don't ever wear
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!

2.17.2020

8 Websites to Start Your Genealogy Research

Starting off your family research can be crazy overwhelming. When I started looking through all that Dad had accomplished with our family history I got really overwhelmed and I work with these types of records every day! Knowing where to start can be tough. Like anything out there these days you'll find tons of options and resources to use.

Some options you have to pay for. Some you might have to travel for. It can be hard to know what resources are contained in a website. Is this the best website to find resources? It's crazy how overwhelming it can be.

Today I'm pulling together online resources to help you get started with your genealogy family research.

8 Websites to Start Your Genealogy Research by Musings of a Museum Fanatic


Ancestry.com
Cost - Starts at $99

This is probably everyone's first go to choice when it comes to starting off your genealogy research. You have an insane amount of research right at your finger tips. They're always working on adding records to their system and you'll get all the details about those resources in emails and hints relating to your trees. 

A plus for Ancestry.com is that you are able to link the research to your family tree. You don't have to pay to create a family tree on Ancestry. I was adding stuff to my tree on Ancestry before I subscribed which was great to have it in one spot.

FamilySearch
Cost - Free

FamilySearch is an amazing non-profit website that has millions of records. I don't think it's quite as big as Ancestry but for a volunteer run website it's amazing. One of my favorite parts of FamilySearch is their Wiki pages. They're full of great info that will help you in your research.

I think the best part are the wiki pages by country. They give you information on where you can find records in a country, maps throughout history relating to records, and so many other resources. If you're stuck trying to find ancestors overseas this is a must look at!

CyndisList.com
Cost - Free

I hadn't heard of Cyndi's List until about a year ago. Cyndi's List describes itself as a "comprehensive, categorized & cross-referenced list of links that point you to genealogical research sites online." and it's so true. 

Say you're looking at cemeteries. In that list item you'll find information linking you to funeral museums, links to social media about cemeteries, and links to fraternal organizations cemetery information. This is just to name a couple out of dozens of links to resources. 

Google Books
Cost - Free

Many families have books written about them or there are books relating to their history. Google Books is a great place to look for these books. A couple years ago when I was creating an exhibit about a Salvation Army family I found two books that talked about them! I used some of the information in the exhibit itself. You never know what you'll find.

Find a Grave
Cost - Free

Find a Grave is one of my absolute favorite resources. Another volunteer run website that can be a wealth of information. In lots of cases they've connected obits to photographs of headstones which can lead to other leads. If you don't see a stone you can actually request that someone get a photograph of it and the volunteer who is in charge of that cemetery will add it. You are also able to upload information too.

US GenWeb
Cost - Free

This is the perfect resource if you're looking for specific state related information. Especially helpful when it comes to specific county related information. I am a fan of the maps throughout the years that a lot of the states have. This is helpful if you're tracking a piece of land in the family that you can't find. It might be because the county or even state borders changed.

Fold3
Cost - Premium Membership $79.95 per year

Looking for military history Fold3 is where you need to look. I would recommend this membership only after looking through Ancestry.com. There are some duplicates that you can see with your Ancestry membership.

Newspapers.com
Cost - Starts at $44.95 for 6 months

Another resource that is one of my favorites to use. I haven't used it as much for my own personal genealogy work but for my work projects it's been amazing. You'll find thousands of newspapers right at your finger tips. I've even just looked around at specific topics that have always interested me. Like the newsboys strike in New York. Can we say Newsies anyone?!

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!

2.14.2020

6 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

In this time of social media with everyone's best life being put out there for everyone to see it can be tough not to compare ourselves to others. I find myself doing it a lot. I share nice photos why didn't those people like mine? Or wow they're going on another vacation? Must be nice.

Comparing ourselves to others doesn't do us one lick of good. In fact it can make things worse since it will create self doubt and make you get down on yourself. Sometimes it can even spiral out of control and lead to depression or worse.


6 Ways to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

Know that you're imperfect & be okay with it

Really I should say know that everyone is imperfect. None of us is perfect. That imperfection is what makes each of us unique and ourselves.

I’ve mentioned before that perfectionism is something I have always struggled with and it’s hindered a lot of opportunities. Nothing is ever going to be perfect and I’m learning to embrace it. I’m striving for progress, not perfection. Everyone has imperfections and it’s what makes you unique.


Appreciate what you have

There is so much that we have in life that sometimes it's easy to just focus on what you don't have. Yes there are some people who are having a hard go of it at the moment but I bet for most of us life is pretty good. Focus on the part of your glass that's half full. I bet you'll find pretty soon that you've actually got a pretty full glass!



Just stop


Sometimes you just need to quit something cold turkey. When you find yourself in the comparison spiral just tell yourself you're being ridiculous and to snap out of it. Stop looking at Instagram. Stop whatever it is you're doing and focus on something else. As I get older this technique works a lot.


Have the right tribe

This is another area that I realize is more and more important as I get older. Having the right support group is super important. They should be there making sure you don't forget how awesome you already are and don't need to compare yourself to others. Along with that they should also make sure you're growing and being better than you were before. You can't be amazing if you're just a bump on a log. We must always grow.



Be aware of your own awesomeness


We are all amazing. I read somewhere that there is something like a one in 14 trillion chance that we are who we are. Even if I'm off by a few trillion that's still pretty insane to think about. There is a reason you are the way you are so embrace yourself and your awesomeness!


Compete with yourself not others

A couple years ago my Pampered Chef director came up with a personal best sheet. We're supposed to keep track month to month of our personal best stats in different areas of our business. This was done because we shouldn't be competing against anyone else in our businesses. We should be focused on making sure we're looking to our own journey and what we can do better. This is the same thing with life. You should be focused on yourself and what you can do better not trying to best someone else.

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!

2.12.2020

5 More Things You Should Clean Right Now

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Moving was a really interesting process. There were a lot of areas of our apartment that I thought we did a good job keeping clean. When we starting packing and moving furniture we definitely missed a few places during our regular cleaning! I've shared 5 things you should clean right now before and here are five more places you should check and probably clean immediately.



In-between drawers
As you can see from the photo there is a space between the drawer and the frame of our dressers. I’ve found that even though it’s a small space dust collects there on every single one of our dressers. It is very annoying since it’s such a small gap it’s tough to clean, especially the gap on the bottom side of the drawer. I didn't even think about those tiny spaces until we pulled out the drawers. I recommend checking even if you don't have drawers with spaces.

Tops of cabinets
Out of sight out of mind is what I think of when I think about the tops of cabinets. We put up a few decorations but then promptly forgot about actually cleaning up there. Who would have thought it could get so dirty up there too? I guess when you cook a lot in your kitchen it's only natural. Luckily in our new place we don't have to worry about the space above the cabinets but if you've got open space up there you should pull out your step stool and give it a good cleaning.

Shoes
This is a somewhat unexpected one but an important one. I wear business casual at work and I never know what I might end up doing each day. Some days I’m at my desk all day but then some I don’t know it but I might end up on my feet or the ground for half the day. This results in my wearing of a certain couple of pairs of shoes most of the time. These are my more comfortable and sturdy shoes.

Meaning that my fancier heels tend to stay in the closet only to be brought out for special occasions. I found the other day that it’s clearly been a while since I’ve work those special occasion shoes since there was a layer of dust on the inside! Definitely an unexpected place that I am now adding to the cleaning list.

The side of your dryer
It's amazing how a little bit of lint can pile up over time. You might think you've gotten it all but let me tell you it's collecting behind and to the side of your dryer. If you've never looked in those cracks you might be in for a shock! It's pretty gross.

Tops of window trim
This is another out of sight out of mind area. I think when it's above our head we don't really think it needs to be cleaned. Now that we've got tons of windows it's pretty important to make sure dust doesn't collect on top of the window trim. Out of all the places to clean it's probably one of the easiest. Just take a Swiffer duster or cloth over it. Boom clean!

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!

2.10.2020

9 Places for Amazing Chocolate in the Chicago Area

When you think of Valentine's Day and food you always think of chocolate right? I know I do! Chicago might be a candy mecca but it's also home to some amazing chocolate shops. You'll find wonderful, unique and delicious chocolate all over the city and suburbs. I've pulled together a guide of the 9 most amazing shops in the area. Be sure to stop by one or two and make sure you've got something for your valentine this year!



Le Chocolate du Bouchard
127-129 S Washington St, Naperville, IL 60540

This downtown Naperville staple has been getting great reviews since it opened in 2004.You'll find rich truffles, turtles, and other confections as well as pastries. The pastry list is just as long as the chocolate list! Their slogan is the ultimate chocolate, wine and dessert experience and we are here for that.


Katherine Anne Confections

2745 W. Armitage Ave.

For over a decade Katherine Anne Confections has been sweetening up Logan Square. Committed to using fair trade cacao and the best local ingredients Katherine Anne's is known for their amazing chocolates and caramels. While you can find the typical favorites be sure to check out their specialty chocolates like the Goat Cheese Walnut Truffles or the Spicy Fleur de Sel Chocolate Dipped Caramels. With an eclectic like that you're bound to find some amazing new favorites.


Long Grove Confectionery
220 Robert Parker Coffin Rd. Long Grove, IL

If you're going to trek all the way to Long Grove for chocolate you better make sure it's amazing. The Myrtles at the Long Grove Confectionery are worth the trek! Full of delicious pecans and caramel topped with their smooth chocolate they are fantastic. You can now even tour the chocolate factory! Don't worry the $2 tour does include some chocolate for you to enjoy.


Veruca Chocolates
2409 N. Western Ave.

When you head to Veruca Chocolates you're not just getting something delicious you're getting something beautiful as well. Their bonbons are gorgeous works of art. Even the chocolate bars are swirled with lovely color. Can't decide on just one? You can get different sets with turtles, caramels, s'mores and bars. Perfect for the chocolate addict in your life.


Blommer Chocolate Company
600 W. Kinzie St.

People only think about Blommer for the delicious chocolate smell that you find in that part of River North. What most people don't realize is there is actually a factory store attached to that lovely smelling factory. You can find everything from bulk blocks and chips for your baking to dipped pretzels, truffles, nuts and so much more.


Chocolat Uzma Sharif
1823 S. Halsted St.

You're in for unique flavors when you head to this Pilsen institution. With flavors like Indian chili caramel and dragon pearl jasmine you're in for a wonderful chocolate experience. Each truffle is a work of art that's almost too beautiful to eat. Pick up a box with just a couple or a box with all of them since it's tough to decide which flavor sounds the best.


Graham's Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream
302 S 3rd St, Geneva, IL 60134

No trip to the far western suburbs is complete without a trip to Graham's Fine Chocolate & Ice Cream. This shop is always bustling. While you can find some amazing truffles I always go for something that is chocolate dipped here. From chocolate covered potato chips to dipped apples as big as your head to chocolate covered Oreos. I recommend enjoying ice cream in the store and taking home a bunch of chocolate.


The Fudge Pot
1532 N. Wells St.

The Fudge Pot has been an Old Town institution since 1963. With delicious staples like chocolate covered strawberries and fudge you'll also find some unique items such as chocolate frozen bananas and hard candy lollipops. Want something really unique? Talk to them about getting a molded chocolate. They've got over 1,000 different chocolate molds and if they don't have it they'll have it made.


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!

2.07.2020

24 Fun Things to do Alone



As much as I love spending time with Kevin and my other family and friends some times I just need some alone time. I think I might be more of an introvert since most of the time alone time that really helps me recharge. Even if you're a more outgoing person you still need some time to yourself.

Having alone time is a way to not only recharge but it has other benefits as well. You not only work on being independent and comfortable with yourself but it will also allow you to explore yourself and your emotions deeper.

I've compiled a list of things you can do by yourself and really enjoy your alone time. What's your favorite way to spend some alone time? 

Visit a museum

Workout

Pamper yourself

Volunteer

Garden

Work on a puzzle

Take a class

Craft

Enjoy a new book

Play with your pet

People watch

Write a note to someone

Take a walk

Meditate

Play video games

Go to a nearby park

Take a nap

Organize

Dance around the house

Go to the movies

Blog

Staycation for one

Rearrange a room

Shopping

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

2.05.2020

5 Things I've Stopped Buying

This post may contain affiliate links.

Simplifying our buying habits wasn't exactly on our list. When you start to hardcore budget and not bring so much stuff into your house it's a happy side effect though. There have been a number of items that we really have just stopped buying. It's been fantastic. I don't even miss some of these items cluttering up our home. Is there anything you've stopped buying recently? Or haven't bought in years?

 
 
Books
I've always been a reader. Just ask my mom how many times I reached the check out limit on books when I was younger! It was 100 by the way. Growing up with a librarian mom we didn't buy books as much but since graduating college I found myself buying more on a regular basis. 

A few years ago I decided unless it was a book that I absolutely love and have read or will read over and over again that I wasn't going to buy it. I would make sure I could get it through the library or borrow it from someone. It's amazing what some libraries have in their collection. If it's a large system they have almost everything plus most libraries will request items through inter-library loan for you too. My new library will purchase a requested book if it fits within a few guidelines. I requested one for them to purchase a few weeks ago and it came in last week.

Paper napkins
Kevin and I got several sets of very nice cloth napkins early on in our marriage but we were never good at using them regularly. Which is funny since at my parents I can remember always using cloth napkins. It took him a little while to come around to using cloth napkins but now he's got the groove of it. 

Make-up
I used to buy all sorts of make up. I'd buy extra items to get over for the freebies. I'd end up with all this extra make up that I thought I would use but never did. These days my day to day make up routine is super simple and I don't need many products. 

Not buying make up that just gets given away or tossed has been a great space saver as well as a great budget saver. I'm still working on my holy grail make up products but that's why I love Sephora and their samples. I can test it all out without breaking the bank. 

Scrapbook Supplies
This is one that might be a little specific to me but you could probably insert your hobby or something similar for this one. This fall while we were working our budget I went a little nuts with my fun money. 

Now I wasn't over budget but having that set amount really gave me the freedom to buy and I bought quite a bit of scrapbook supplies. I'm working on not buying any new supplies and working with the beautiful papers, washi tapes and stickers that I have. Scrapbook supplies are going to be on my do not buy list for quite a while. 

Gift wrap 
I haven't bought gift wrap or bags in years. My mom and Kevin's mom have stock piles of them, they've had huge stockpiles for years. I just raid theirs. Also I like to reuse wrapping elements like bags and the tissue in the bags. Most of the time those are still in great shape so there is no need to throw it out. 

If I were to actually get to the point where I needed to buy paper again I'd adapt Stephanie's wrapping plan. She sticks with a single color paper like brown. That way you can add a different color ribbon or even stamp the paper but it's still good for any holiday. I mean seriously think about it. It really does work for any occasion. Mind blown right? Genius.  

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!

1.31.2020

5 Old School Workout Videos You Must Try

This post may contain affiliate links.

At the end of 2019 I was using a bunch of my PTO time up and had some fantastically productive days. I ended the year and started 2020 with a new fitness regime. I broke out some of my favorite old school workout DVDs.

There is a reason that something is considered a classic! They still work amazingly well. What is your favorite at home workout?


Start! Walking with Leslie Sansone 1 & 2 Mile Walk
I'm a big fan of walking. It can be a pain in the butt here in the Midwest to get your steps in during the winter though. Leslie Sansone's walking workouts are a perfect winter workout. They're great if you need a lower impact workout as well.

Zumba Incredible Slimdown Weight Loss Dance Workout DVD System
If you like a more intense workout Zumba is the way to go. I still can't do a lot of these moves but I enjoy trying. I always feel energized and happy after an upbeat Zumba workout.

Reebok Original Aerobic Step

Who didn't have one of these in their house growing up? When I got older and actually started to use it for exercise I was surprised at what a good workout it was. It can be tough to adjust a workout if it's too much for you or not enough. The different heights for the step makes it super easy for the adjustment

Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss
My go to is this DVD set. During college they helped me loose about 30 lbs. I love how the bellydance moves really help work certain problem areas I know we all have issues with, like your mid-section. Since I've been working out regularly again I've been alternating these videos as well as the 5 Daily Quickies video. I've been getting a great whole body workout but having fun while I'm doing it. 


This video goes hand in hand with the Bellydance Fitness for Weight Loss. I like the quickies because you can pick to focus on a specific area for a quick workout or do all 5 for a long workout. I really like the abdominal work out. Even just doing this 10 minute focus a few times a week along with the other bellydance videos I can tell a difference after just a couple in my core becoming leaner. Woohoo for being able to go another belt loop in! 

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!

1.29.2020

11 Things You Should Clean More Often Than You Do

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With all of the stuff in our lives it can be tough to keep track of it much less make sure everything is clean. There are some items that slip through the cracks or you don't even realize that you should clean it as often as you should. Or maybe even at all!

A lot of the items on this list don't tend to look dirty so you don't always think to clean them. Just because they don't look dirty doesn't mean they aren't.



Mattress
This is something that is used every day of your life. You sweat in it. There are probably other bodily fluids on it. How often do you actually clean it though?? I know I don't clean it hardly ever. Do you ever clean your mattress?

Pillows
They go hand in hand with the mattress. We are great about cleaning our sheets but never think to clean our pillows. I read somewhere that you should also replace them every year and a half, two years at most.

Washer & Dryer
I always think of these as self cleaning since they're cleaning my clothes but really they're not. You should make sure and clean both a couple times a year. There are some great DIY at home tricks for cleaning up both your washer and dryer or you can get a cleaner from the store.

Remote Controls
These bad boys get touched by everyone, dropped on the floor and sometimes even sat on. They definitely could use a good cleaning more often. Kevin is actually pretty good at taking a disinfecting wipe to them once a month. Super simple.

Light switches 
Does anyone actually clean their light switches? We all put our hands on them multiple times a day and I'm sure there are all sorts of germs on them.

Trash can
This is one area we for sure clean regularly! Since we do a lot of cooking at home there tends to be some smelly items like garlic that end up in the trash bin. This usually results in a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning so it doesn't smell up the kitchen.

Purse
I'm sure a lot of us dump out and sort the contents on a regular basis but forget to take care of the bag itself. Vacuuming it out is a good start but actually cleaning it should be added to your cleaning schedule. Be sure to look into what the proper way to care for the different materials are.

Oven
I don't think I've ever actually cleaned out an oven. Whether it was when I was at my parents house or in our home I've never done it. Which probably means it needs to be cleaned out!

Dishwasher
Notice a trend in this list? I think we really forget about our large appliances when it comes to cleaning. We think that because they clean other items that they clean themselves. Not true! Cleaning out the dishwasher can be super simple with new products out there or a great DIY cleaner.

Loofah
There really isn't a way to clean a loofah. Really it should be replaced on a regular basis. Replacing it about every two months is a good schedule.

Toothbrush
This is another item that you can't really clean but should replace on a regular basis. Tuck your toothbrush away when you're not using it. If you don't close the lid on your toilet when you flush supposedly microscopic droplets can fly up to 6 ft!! That means it's getting all over your toothbrush and everything else in your bathroom. Close the toilet lid.

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!

1.27.2020

9 Iconic Chicago Nicknames


Oh what's in a name. We've all had nicknames throughout our lives. Some are great and stick with us some I'm sure we'd probably prefer to forget!

Chicago has acquired some nicknames throughout it's infamous history. Some have not been so great but there are some nicknames that have really stuck around. I've pulled together 9 of the most iconic nicknames for this amazing city. What's your favorite nickname for Chicago?

Chicago Nicknames

The 312

City of Big Shoulders

The Second City

The White City

Chi-Town

Paris on the Prairie

The Windy City

City in a Garden

City by the Lake


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!

1.22.2020

Tips for Eliminating Toxic People From Your Life

It's a new year and we all know that means working on ourselves, our lives and our relationships. Over the past couple of years I've been really working on the relationships in my life. Lucky for me I really didn't have any toxic relationships in my personal life but I did have some in my work life. It was pretty obvious from the beginning that it was toxic but sometimes it's not so obvious that a relationship is toxic. Have you ever realized a relationship in your life was toxic? What ways did you get it out of your life? I've got 5 tips to help you work on eliminating a toxic relationship. 



Know who they are
When it comes to ourselves there are lots of times that it's hard to see things for what they are. Most of us find it difficult to see our own and our close friends' flaws. This can be especially true if the person is toxic. We can make excuses for them and reason ourselves as to why they're acting the way they are. Here are five ways to spot someone who might be toxic. There are tons of other ways to spot them but these are five that I've seen in toxic relationships I've had in my life. 


  • They are self-centered. They take more than they give in your relationship.
  • They are never at fault and are always the victim.
  • They always have to be right.
  • You feel drained physically and mentally after spending time with them.
  • You always feel like you must save or fix the person.

Realize they won't change

Toxic people are not the type of people who change. They don't even know what they're doing to you so how could they change their behavior. You might think you can change them but they don't want to change so it's a futile effort. Even when people point out something that is a toxic behavior the person either doesn't know it's something toxic or more than likely really doesn't care. I know someone who tried to share a behavior that was toxic with a work colleague and the person just sat there and was like yeah so what. 

Set boundaries

Don't just say you're going to stop talking to someone take the next step and remove them. Block their number and block them on social media. Don't even give them the option to connect and try to pull you back in. Stick to it. 

Focus on your healthy relationships

Toxic relationships can take up so much of your time it's easy to forget about the healthy relationships in your life. Those relationships should make you feel happy, healthy and safe. Make sure you're cultivating those relationships. It can be really easy to let the toxic relationships force out the healthy ones but hopefully you're able to realize what's happening and not let those healthy relationships deteriorate.  

Forgive but don't forget

When it comes to toxic people it's all well and good to forgive. If you end up forgetting though it would be easy to go back and let them into your life. Really there is a chance if you keep forgetting how toxic they are you won't only let them back in your life you'll let them ruin your 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!

1.20.2020

30 Things That Happened in 2015



Is it weird to think that 2015 is already half a decade ago? Like I can't even remember what was happening in life during 2015 it feels so long ago but yet so not long ago. There was so much happening it boggles my mind, especially some of the terrible things that happened that year. Some of them I even forgot about. What is one thing that happened in 2015 that you totally forgot about?



Tom Brady is accused of under inflating the ball during the AFC Championship

The United States Supreme Court affirms same-sex marriage

Netflix starts it's own content domination with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

We all debated over the color of The Dress



Fifty Shades of Grey

Donald Trump launches his campaign for US President

We lost Leonard Nimoy

Misty Copeland became the first African-American woman named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre



Our favorite gal pal Leslie Knope & Parks and Recreation went of the air

Dylann Roof kills nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison charges related to child pornography

Inside Out


Queen Elizabeth II becomes Great Britain's longest-reigning monarch at 63 years and seven months



China announces the end of their one-child policy after 35 years

Marvin Gaye's family won a $7.3 million lawsuit for music copyright infringement against Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and T.I.

Hamilton takes theater by storm

The Force Awakens





Two gunmen attack the Paris offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, wounding 11 and killing 12

Left Shark steals the spotlight from Katie Perry in the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show

The deaths of Walter Scott and Freddie Gray at the hands of police officers fueled a massive outcry 

We said goodbye to Mad Men



Superstore hits our TVs

A dentist from Minnesota, paid $55,000 to travel across the world and kill Cecil, one of Africa's most famous lions. This ignited outrage around the world

Baseball legend Yogi Berra passes away at age 90

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!

1.17.2020

5 To-do List Mistakes You're Making

To do lists are one of my favorite things. I have notebooks and notepads all over the place. There are specific ones in my purse, one for my computer bag and every where else in the house. They are so handy when you're trying to organize and get everything in your life under control. Even if you're not planning on a super busy day it's beneficial to have a to do list for your day.

If you're going to take the time a write a to do list you should make sure you're doing it right. There are lots of things you can do to that instead of helping you maximize the impact your to do list can have it minimizes it or stresses you out.



Writing it at the wrong time

They say that timing is everything. This can definitely be applied to your to do list. I actually like to write mine the day before. Like my work to do list I'll spend the last few minutes of the day writing down things that I might have forgotten to do or need to make sure I do right away the next day. It helps me plan out the day.

Maybe you can't write it the night before but try to get it written as early as you're able to. That way you're able to maximize and plan your day.

Including the right tasks

Making sure you have the right type of tasks on a to do list is very important. You don't want to put on your daily to do list items that are some day items and are appropriate for your 101 in 1001 list. You're not going to be able to cross that of your list in a timely manner and it will be frustrating.

Those some day items should be their own list that you keep track of separately. I highly recommend breaking those some day tasks into manageable daily to dos. One of the 101 list items I'm working on is working through all my puzzles. The past couple of weeks I've been adding puzzle time to my to list several days a week. I don't say to do the entire puzzle in a day but spend 30 minutes on it.

Specific is best

Do not be vague! That's the quickest way to write a totally useless list. Besides the fact that you won't be able to focus on the important items you need to accomplish there is a good chance that you might not remember what exactly you were supposed to do! Think about it like you would your goals, make it smart!

Not being realistic

Know your limits whether it's how much you are actually able to get done in a day or what your calendar actually allows for that day. Thinking that you can get tons of major items done at home when you have to work and have something in the evening is probably unrealistic.

Not being flexible

Things can change throughout your day so there is no reason why your to do list shouldn't change with it. Sometimes I'll be crossing so much off the list that I will take time and write totally new one for the rest of the day. Be flexible it will allow you to change directions if needed and get more accomplished during your day. Don't let it derail you.


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!

1.15.2020

5 Simple Steps to Create an at Home Spa Night



This post may contain affiliate links

It's winter. It's cold out. Most of us don't want to go outside for anything. It's that time of year when you don't really tend to pamper yourself. We've lived in our place for six months and I haven't even taken time to use the Jacuzzi tub yet. I think winter is the perfect time of year to have yourself a wonderful at home spa night or two or three. I could spend an hour just relaxing in the tub when it's all set up for a lovely at home spa evening. Do you give yourself an at home spa night? What's your favorite way to pamper at home?

1. Create a Mood

One of the best parts of a visit to the spa is the ambiance. It's relaxing. There is soothing music playing. You just want to live there. Head to Pandora and find a spa channel. Put out some of your favorite candles and turn down the lights. Setting the right mood for your at home spa night is very simple and will make or break it.

2. Dress the part

It's not just something you see in the movies. The big fluffy robe is the quintessential part of a lovely spa experience. It's the perfect time to break out that robe your mom gave you two years ago for Christmas and finally use it. Don't have a robe? Break out your biggest fluffiest towel to use. Making sure you're in a comfy outfit that can maximize your relaxation is important.

3. Masks, masks, masks

From facial masks to under eye masks to foot peel masks we are living in the golden age of masks. For the perfect at home spa night make sure to pick up a few different ones. You might not be able to have a professional facial but these will make you feel amazing. Be sure to pamper yourself from head to toe to get the full spa experience.

4. Warm up

One way that a spa differentiates from home is that everything seems to be warm. The rooms are always toasty warm as well as the products they use. So be sure your bathroom is nice and toasty. Warm up your products like lotion before applying. Not only will it give you a spa experience it feels so much nicer when it's warm. Don't forget to take a warm bath or shower too!

5. Don't forget your nails

To take your at home spa night to the next level be sure to pamper both your finger nails and toe nails. Don't just slap some paint on your nails either. Show them some love. Give your cuticles some treatment and use a nail buffer to smooth out the nails before applying your polish.

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!

1.13.2020

Chicago Museum Free Days 2020

2019 brings with it a whole new batch of museum free days!  Be sure to check out these two amazing programs for other ways to save and enjoy your favorite Museums for much less, Museums for All and Blue Star Museums. What new museum will you check out this year?




The Big 6 Chicago Museums


1300 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL 60605
312-922-7827
These are Illinois resident discount days


  • January 7-9, 20-22
  • February 4-6, 11-13, 17-20
  • March 9-12
  • April 20-23
  • May 10-16
  • June 2, 9, 16
  • August 22-23, 31
  • September 1-4
  • October 12-15
  • November 11, 17-19
  • December 4-6



111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603

312-443-3600
  • Chicago residents under the age of 18 can get into this museum for free any time. Children age 14 years and younger are always free.
  • Free admission every Thursday 5-8PM to Illinois residents


700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
312-527-1000
  • First Free Sunday - Free admission for visitors 15 and under on the first Sunday of each month




1400 South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
312-922-9410

Illinois residents can enjoy free Basic admission on Field Museum Discount Days. On these Discount Days, Illinois residents may upgrade to a Discovery Pass for $16 or upgrade to an All-Access Pass for $23.
  • January 8,15,20,22,29
  • February 1-29



Museum of Science and Industry 
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60637
773-684-1414

These are Illinois resident discount days
  • January 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30
  • February 3-6, 10-13, 18-20, 24-27



Shedd Aquarium
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60605
312-939-2438
  • January 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30
  • February 3-6, 10-13, 18-20, 24-27


Art Museums

150 Cottage Hill Ave. Elmhurst, Illinois 60126

630-834-0202
  • Free admission the first Friday of the month


40 Arts Cir Dr, Evanston, IL 60208

847-491-4000

  • Free daily admission


DePaul Art Museum

935 W. Fullerton Ave. Chicago, IL 
  • Free daily admission


Design Museum Of Chicago

Expo 72, 72 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601
  • Free daily admission



1220 Kensington Road, Oak Brook, Illinois 60523

630-833-1616
  • Free admission every Wednesday



820 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
312-915-7600
  • Free admission every Tuesday




220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611

312-280-2660
  • Free admission every Tuesday for Illinois residents


600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

  • Free daily, but is closed when Columbia College is closed. 



4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue Chicago, IL 60641

312-326-0270
  • Free daily admission




5550 S. Greenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637

773-702-0200
  • Free daily admission


Ethnic Museums



740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL 60637
773-947-0600
  • Free admission every Tuesday



218 W. 26th St. Chicago, IL Chicago, IL 60616
  • Free daily admission



1852 West 19th Street, Chicago, IL 60608
312-738-1503
  • Free daily admission



3015 W. Division St. Chicago, IL 60622
  • Free daily admission



1155 East 58th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

773-702-9514
  • Free daily admission 


Schingoethe Center of Aurora University
1315 Prairie Street, Aurora, IL 60506
630-844-7843
  • Free daily admission 




5211 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60601

773-728-8111
  • Free admission every second Tuesday of the month



History Museums 


First Division Museum (at Cantigny)
1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189
630-668-5161

  • Free daily admission to museums, $5 parking fee per car




1601 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

312-642-4600
Illinois resident discount days


  • The Museum is free to Illinois residents every Tuesday* from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Commemorative Days: Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, March 4, and July 4. *Excludes December 17, December 24 and December 31.



3407 W. Armitage Ave. Chicago, IL 60647
  • Free daily admission



1827 South Indiana Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

312-326-1480
  • Free daily admission


102 E. Wesley Street Wheaton, Illinois 60187
630-510-4941

  • Free daily admission


120 E. Park Ave.  Elmhurst, IL 60126
630-833-1457
  • Free daily admission




1800 South Prairie Avenue, Chicago, IL 60616

312-326-1480
  • Free to Illinois residents on Wednesdays



Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall
23 E Downer Place AuroraIL 60507
630-256-3400
  • Free admission when open



800 S. Halsted Chicago, IL 60607-7017
312-413-5353
  • Suggested donation of $5




1524 N. Lake Shore Dr. Chicago, IL 60610

312-642-6502
  • January 13-17, 20-24 
  • February 3-7, 10-13, 17-21
  • November 30-4
  • December 7-11, 14-18



6418 N. Greenview Ave. Chicago, IL 60626

  • Admission is free every Thursday for those who are 18+. 


230 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604

312-322-2400

    • Free daily admission 



    523 S. Webster St. Naperville, IL 60540

    630-420-6010
    • Free general admission for Naperville residents. Discounted rate during the winter season (November-March)


    2531 Sheridan Road Great Lakes, IL 60088 
    847-688-3154
    • Free daily admission 


    Pritzker Military Museum and Library
    104 S. Michigan Ave,Chicago, IL 60603
    312-374-9333

    • Days not announced yet. This will be updated as soon as they are shared. 



    American Toby Jug Museum


    910 Chicago Ave. Evanston, IL 60202
    • Free daily admission 



    Local Historical Societies & Museums

    These local historical institutions usually have free admission, suggested donation or an extremely low fee which will usually include a tour. Since a majority these institutions are run by volunteers be sure to check what their hours are since sometimes they will only be open certain days of the week to the public.




    Nature Museums, Farms & Zoos


    8400 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513
    708-688-8000

    • Every Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday between January 1 and February 29, 2020, free admission for all guests




    1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022

    847-835-5440
    • Free daily admission, parking fees apply




    1S151 South Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189

    630-668-5161
    • Free daily admission, $5 parking




    300 North Central Park Avenue, Chicago, IL 60624

    312-746-5100
    • Free daily admission




    5700 College Road Lisle, IL 60532 

    630-829-6569
    • Free daily admission




    2001 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60614

    312-742-2000
    • Free daily admission





    2430 North Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL 60614

    773-755-5100
    • Thursdays are suggested donation days for Illinois residents




    1421 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL

    847-299-6096
    • Free daily admission




    1510 Wagner Road, Glenview, IL 60026

    847-657-1506
    • Free daily admission

    ***While this list is pretty comprehensive there are a number of museum's that don't advertise free/discounted days but you should definitely be sure to check them out as well because there are some amazing museums in the Chicago area***



    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!