Musings of a Museum Fanatic: July 2020


5 Simple Ways to Be More Positive

Since the pandemic started I've found that it's been tougher for me to feel positive. There is so much happening with COVID-19 itself much less thinking about all the other things like not being able to see family, potential layoffs, the massive change to life and so much more.

I feel like I can be an odd duck when it comes to positivity, I can be that way for other but don't do so well for myself. Being positive is tough for a lot of us. It's like a muscle and we need to make sure that we work that muscle.

5 Simple Ways to Be More Positive by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #Improving

Be grateful and express gratuity
It's amazing what acknowledging all that we have to be grateful for can do for your positive outlook. One of the hardest parts of the pandemic was not being able to see our close family like we normally do. I had to step back and say you know what I might not be able to see them in person but we can still video call each other. Not everyone has that opportunity.

Next time you're in a situation where you're feeling anything but positive take a step back from the situation and ask yourself if there is any part of it that you can feel grateful for.

You are who you hang with
A few years ago I read in an article that you are most like the 5 people you spend the most time with. At the time I was dealing with a not so great boss who acted in a negative manner all the time. Part of my lack of positivity was from the fact that I had a bad boss but I realized that because I spent so much of my time (40 hours a week is a lot people!) with this person I was starting to act like them.

Surround yourself with positive people in your life and you will begin to be more positive. Being positive is contagious so make sure you have the opportunity to catch it.

Find your positive music
We all have that music that as soon as it comes on our playlist we start to smile then our toes start tapping. Before you realize it you're dancing around the kitchen. You might not realize exactly what song it is right this moment but take some time to figure it out. Mine tends to be 90s and 00s pop. Who can't be happy listening to Britney?

Have a positive morning routine
How we start our day reflects how the day ends up. One thing that we've added to our routine is Kevin wakes me up instead of setting a second alarm. It's much nicer to wake up to him saying good morning my love instead of the alarm. Maybe you're someone who can wake up to music. Try setting an uplifting song instead of the alarm.

Making a good, healthy breakfast starts your day off on a positive foot as well. As much as we love our Captain Crunch if you eat it every morning you're going to be feeling blah. Maybe take some time for meditation and quiet time or don't touch your phone until right before you leave. Test out some of these different things and then adding them to your routine will increase your positive outlook on the day.

Do something positive for someone else
If you're finding it hard to be positive try doing something positive for someone else. Is there something you could do to help out and make things less stressful for the people in your daily life? When I'm having one of those stressful moments Kevin will see what he can do to help me feel less stressed. Like if I'm trying to get a couple packages to the post office and can't find something he'll say just sit down, relax and I'll find it.

That one little moment of finding the lost item will completely change my perspective. He usually says helping me feel more positive makes his day more positive. Can you do something like that for someone? Maybe something bigger like volunteering in a positive way will help your positive meter out of the negative.

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 Tips For Working with Your Family History Artifacts

So you've started your genealogy research and now you want to tackle the physical items relating to your family history. This can be anything from photographs to pins from your grandparents to your own drawings from when you were younger! Many of these items you'll want to preserve. It can be pretty daunting to start the physical side of preserving your family history.

The first major step is to start pulling everything together. After you’ve hopefully pulled together most of your documents, photographs and artifacts for your family history, what do you do with them? These are five basic best practices I adhere to while working with historic materials in the archive.

5 Tips For Working with Your Family History Artifacts by Musings of a Museum Fanatic #genealogy #Familyhistory

No food or drinks 

This is one of the most important things to remember when working with historic items. It is so easy to knock over a cup or smear mustard on your hand during lunch. Then you’ve potentially ruined an irreplaceable piece of family history. Don’t keep food or drinks nearby when you’re working with your items.

Always use pencils 

One thing they teach you when you work with historic materials is that anything you do should be reversible. If you’re planning on numbering your photographs and documents as a way to organize, always use pencil when possible. There are certain photographs that you can’t use pencil on.


When people think of an archivist or museum curator, they picture Nicholas Cage in a tuxedo handling the Declaration of Independence with white gloves. This is a more glamorous image of an archivist at work, but it’s actually correct. Gloves are appropriate when dealing with certain types of materials such as photographs and negatives.

However, gloves aren’t appropriate for dealing with items such as ceramics and glass, because of their slick texture. You can find simple cotton gloves from many different suppliers. Archival supply companies have more fitted styles and some with non-slip nubs for a surer grip.

Washing Hands 

Washing your hands before you handle items, with or without gloves, is extremely important. In many cases it is best practice to handle items with clean, dry hands instead of wearing gloves. For example, if you handle fragile papers while wearing gloves, you’re likelier to tear them.

Washing hands is even more important then. You don’t want to bring in your lunch on your hands and then smudge it on a document. Washing off things like lotion and hand oils is crucial as well.

One thing at a time 

We live in a world of carry-every-single-grocery-bag-up-the-stairs-at-once, so it can be tough to work with one item at a time. This is especially important when dealing with historic items since they can be fragile. If you’re trying to work with a pile of extremely old, brittle papers, you could accidentally break off pieces if you grab the entire pile at once. You could trip while carrying multiple boxes of your family’s artifacts, dropping them all. Take care and work with one item or box at a time, carrying them with both hands!

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!


8 Common Mistakes People Make Paying Off Debt

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Changing financial habits can be really difficult. We all make mistakes along the way no matter who we are. It's especially tough when it comes to things we're not familiar with like paying off debt. If you've never done it or done it right before how do you know if you're paying off debt right? It can be confusing.

Here are 8 common mistakes I've seen people making when it comes to paying of debt. We've done more than a few of them ourselves.

No emergency fund

You read about how most people don't have enough money saved up to cover a $400 emergency. When we started our Financial Peace University journey I remember Dave talking about how baby step 1 (having a $1,000 emergency fund) wasn't there at first. After hearing so many stories about people having to start over because of an emergency that popped up and threw off the entire plan they came to the conclusion that most people could cover most emergencies with just a $1,000 emergency fund.

For our debt journey we were able to pay it off without going that low in our emergency fund but for some people just saving up for the small emergency fund is a big step. Having a small emergency is super important so you don't loose that momentum if something comes up and you don't go into more debt for the emergency.

Not cutting all extra spending

Kevin and I had some fights about this step for sure. I was ready to cut all spending to the bone and he wasn't quite ready to go that hardcore right away. We ended up cutting tons of excess spending and are continually working to cut more still even though we're out of debt. If you're still spending money on things like coffee from Starbucks and dinner out each week are you really focusing on your debt? Nope not at all. To get out debt you need to be focused on it. If it's not a priority it's not going to be successful, that goes for anything in your life especially your debt and finances.

Going into more debt

If you're already in debt why do you keep adding more debt to it? Credit card is almost maxed out? Well stop using it! Don't keep spending when you're in debt, it goes right along with cutting out extra spending. Have 35k in student loans and thinking about getting a masters and adding another 20k to the debt? That's just nuts. Don't do it. You don't need to keep going into more debt, you're just digging the hole even deeper.

Not having a plan

A plan is super important when it comes to your debt. It's really easy to wander into debt. Kevin and I did that with our cars. We had no debt at all and decided we could just finance his car. Then mine was needing to be replaced so we just decided to finance mine to. There we were with no debt but then all of a sudden 30k back in debt! It still makes me so angry that we just wandered back into it.

To get out of that debt isn't as easy as getting into it. We needed a plan! Which involved budgeting, making sure we knew our finances better and what our goals were. If you have a partner it's really important that you're both working on the plan together!

Taking on more debt to pay off some debt

I've heard crazy stories about people just moving debt from one credit card to another or by taking out a home equity loan to pay of credit card debt. Why would you put your home into jeopardy with a home equity loan just to pay off consumer debt? Some people think that they can withdraw from their retirement accounts to pay off debt. That's another not so smart idea too. Don't do that. The penalties and interest can be devastating.

Not tracking your progress

Working on something like paying off debt for a long time can be disheartening. Tracking your progress and celebrating milestones helps to keep you going for the long haul. Track that progress as you go. Make a huge thermometer and draw it in when you pay off certain amounts. Make a huge paper chain around your living room and rip off a circle every time.

Don't just track be sure to acknowledge and celebrate milestones as well. Maybe you do something to celebrate each $5,000 you pay off like a dinner out (within budget of course!) or something special like pampered or a movie out. Or maybe it's splurging on the fancy cheese at the grocery store. Keep your moral up and acknowledge all your awesome work.

You're not paying extra towards the principle

This is especially important to pay attention to when it comes to paying off your mortgage. You want to make sure you're paying towards the principal and not just having the extra go towards the interest. Paying off the principle early will have you paying waaaay less in interest, which is the whole point! Make sure you pay attention to where those extra payments are going.

You're not increasing your income

This can go hand in hand with cutting way back on your spending. You will give yourself a raise just by doing that. Don't just stop there though. Is there something that you could be doing to increase your income to help pay off that debt? Maybe it's something like Swagbucks where you're just earning a little more or Respondent where you can earn earn money for studies.

Maybe you want to really wipe out that debt fast so you get a second job. Increasing your income can really put the pedal the metal. There are many different options, who knows maybe you'll find a great long term side hustle that will keep bringing in money once your done paying off debt.

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!