FALL Challenge Update #2

Time to check my progress on Stephanie’s Freakin’ Awesome Legendary List (FALL) challenge. [See the last updates here and here.]

1) Take a drive to look at the changing leaves
DONE! The leaves aren’t really pretty around here, so this wasn’t the best leave-looking-drive. We did it though, so I’m marking this one off. Sometimes we just don’t get a lot of fall color around here. And turns out it isn’t just my imagination! – a local news station reported on the lack of color this year.

4) Carve a pumpkin
FAIL! Okay, not going to happen. We weren’t sure if we were going to be in town on Halloween, so we put off carving a pumpkin. When we finally decided we would be trick-or-treating at home, no one really had the time to carve anything. Well, mainly no one had to time to clean up the mess afterwards.

6) Visit a pumpkin patch
FAIL! I can’t believe it, but we didn’t visit a pumpkin patch this year. We didn’t even visit the church down the street that sells pumpkins in front of their building or the big pumpkin cardboard bin at Wal-mart. There is no pumpkin in front of our house this year.

7) Go trick-or-treating
ALMOST DONE! This will happen tonight, of course. I painted my face to look like a deer, the daughter is an old-fashioned little red riding hood, the little man is spiderman, and the husband is. . . himself.
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9) Tell a ghost story
DONE! You know what I’ve discovered? Telling ghost stories is a lot of fun out in the woods around a campfire in the middle of the night. It is a lot of fun while driving down a dark and deserted road. It is a lot of fun going through a hayride in a cemetery (what? Your church didn’t do that when you were a kid?). It is not a lot of fun while sitting in your living room. You know what is a lot of fun while sitting in your living room? Watching ghost stories on television. I’m counting this one as done.

13) Wear an adorable knitted hat
COMING SOON! The weather dropped from 80-85 degrees earlier this week to a high of 60 tomorrow. My hats will be coming out soon. I might even put one on tonight; it is pretty chilly.

14) Roast pumpkin seeds
FAIL!
Since we didn’t carve, we don’t have seeds to roast. Total fail on this one.

15) Create a fall-themed wreath
DONE! Look at my masterpiece!
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This wreath idea and leaf templates came from LiaGriffith.com. I didn’t take any in-process photos because all I really did was cut leaf shapes out of paper and glue them on a purchased wreath form. This is the kind of wreath DIY sites like to say you can “make out of things sitting around your house!” Well I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep wreath forms and random sheets of paper around the house. I did easily procure the supplies for under $10 at a local craft store though. I was pretty haphazard with my paper choices and wanted to mix in neat textures too. You could easily make this look any way you want.

18) Make food that tastes delicious, but looks like something scary or disgusting
ALMOST DONE!
I’m making bleeding finger hot dogs tonight.

Playful and Productive

I am a busy person with a family and lots of commitments. It is very important that I use my time as wisely as possible to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Today I am going to share my five best tips for increasing your productivity. Share your own in the comments!

1. Consciously select your music or background noise
Okay, this one is pretty much a given on any productivity list you can find out there in google-land, but it is there for a reason. It works. You need to find something that calms you, but doesn’t take up too much brainpower. For me, a television show or movie I know by heart is my first choice, followed by classical music (with harpsichords, if possible).

There are many websites and apps out there that provide the kind of ambient noise you would experience in a coffee house or restaurant. I’ve tried these before and it does seem to work for me as promised. Placebo effect? Maybe. Who cares?

Lifehacker has a great list of the different types of music/sounds that seem to work best. It is a great place to start if you are trying to find what works for you.

2. Find your best time of day
I can get just as much work done in my prime hours after dinner than I can if I sat myself down in front of the computer at 10am and tried to write all day. I just work better in the evening. Why waste all that other time and stress over what I’m not getting done? Don’t try to force yourself into a schedule you think you should be keeping; it isn’t going to help your overall productivity.

Are there days you just don’t get anything done? Friday evenings for me are a total blow-off. I regret it instantly if I ever make the mistake of planning or saving an activity that requires productivity for those evenings. The same goes for Tuesday evening – my daughter has dance class and I go grocery shopping, I prefer the rest of the evening to be unscheduled.

Not sure when you are really at your best? Try energy mapping your day. Finding the patterns in your life will help you determine what hours – or even what days – you will be at your best.

3. Sip on some iced tea (or some other beverage of your choice)
I find that having a drink with me when I am writing or working on a project really increases my productivity. It keeps me alert and satisfied. More importantly, it gives me something to do – something that isn’t the internet or television – when I need to take a very short break or even just a moment to think. Having a drink keeps me on task.

I prefer iced tea. It is cold and tasty without a sugar or caffeine high. Coffee can work, but unless it is takeout I find myself more interesting in enjoying the experience of drinking the coffee more than the work I should be doing. I have a lot of coffee mugs. They are distracting. If I’m at home settled in for the evening, I like a good glass of wine to get the creative juices flowing. Added bonus – if you are a food grazer like me, having a drink nearby will keep you out of the snacks.

4. Learn to say no
This should probably be number one. The best way to remain productive is to avoid taking on too many tasks. I found this quote on Goodreads that kind of sums up this whole point “My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” ― Francine Jay, Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify.

Understanding my limits is often a hard thing for me. I’m a busy person with numerous commitments who likes taking on new things and has a hard time saying no. Each of those things could be a massive blow to my productivity if I don’t keep it in check.

And please don’t feel guilty about saying no. According to Fortune, saying no gets you ahead.

5. Make lists
You all know I love my lists. A good to-do list is a must-have in my house. Want to know my secret weapon for making your to-do list effective? Put things on it you have already finished or will be finishing very soon. There is something very satisfying and extremely motivating about seeing things crossed off of your list. Feeling like you have accomplished something already can make it easier to tackle the next thing on the list. I know some people probably disagree with this strategy. They might argue that I’m sacrificing quality for quantity or falsely inflating my accomplishments. Pashaw, I say! Whatever works; you do you!

Bonus #6: Procrastination
::sigh:: I’ll admit it – I work better under the pressure of a deadline, especially if that deadline is creeping ever closer and freaking me out because I’ve waited too long to get started. I wouldn’t suggest this as a productivity strategy though.

This list is inspired by Kabbage a company providing loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs using a seven-minute online application. Check out their site for more information.

*I did not receive compensation from Kabbage for writing this post.

Saturday Review: Annabelle

Annabelle-2014-Movie-PosterI absolutely loved The Conjuring. I know its reviews are sort of mixed in the horror community, but I think it is the best horror movie I’ve seen in a long time. My daughter loved it too and has been anxious to see Annabelle since she first heard they were making the movie. A couple of weeks ago, I took off work early and we headed to the movie theater after school expecting an hour and a half of awesome horror.

It was . . . okay. It certainly met expectations as an average horror movie, but didn’t really come anywhere close to The Conjuring.

A little plot background from IMDB user johntyler249: John Form has found the perfect gift for his expectant wife, Mia – a beautiful, rare vintage doll in a pure white wedding dress. But Mia’s delight with Annabelle doesn’t last long. On one horrific night, their home is invaded by members of a satanic cult, who violently attack the couple. Spilled blood and terror are not all they leave behind. The cultists have conjured an entity so malevolent that nothing they did will compare to the sinister conduit to the damned that is now… Annabelle.

So if you watched The Conjuring, you probably remember the opening scene describing two young women’s experiences with a haunted doll named Annabelle. This is Annabelle’s imagined backstory.

What was good:

-The movie didn’t waste a lot of time with one person trying to convince others that crazy things were happening. This is my least favorite part of modern horror films and I’m happy to see the recent trend abandoning it.

-The scares were pretty good, especially on the big screen. I mean, creepy dolls are creepy; you would have to try very hard to mess that up. We are talking classic scares here – creaking floors, weird noises, things jumping out at you.

What was bad:

-Lots of talking. Lots of trying to figure out how to stop this evil. This movie felt three hours long.

-Annabelle didn’t actually do much. Just lots of close-ups and swells in music. Kudos to the director for not taking the easy way out and doing the zoom-in-on-in-inanimate-object-only-to-see-it-blink thing. I kept expecting it.

-No Ed and Lorraine Warren. I watch a lot of paranormal shows on television. I mean, a lot. They are my favorite. Lorraine used to pop up on several shows and I love her. Now, I wasn’t expecting them to have major roles in the film as this is supposed to be events that took place before their involvement. Still, I was disappointed. At one point, a priest mentioned knowing of a “couple back east” who dealt with these kinds of objects. Really? That felt incredibly forced.

-Too many horror clichés. Too many nods to other – really good – horror movies. It really reminded me of Insidious – some neat visuals, but a really lacking plot. I wasn’t surprised to learn it was the same director.

One word to describe it: unremarkable. Much like Annabelle in real life:
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Birchbox in the house!

There were some really great boxes this month. Mine was just okay. I’m not complaining though; I’ve had some good months recently. I didn’t pick any of the samples this month and just rolled the dice.
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Dr. Jart+ Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm ($4.46)
I wear Dr. Jart+ BB cream almost every day, so I’m always happy to see a sample in a box. I highly recommend Dr. Jart – all of the BB creams seem to just be great. And so much more than tinted moisturizer. This sample is tiny though. I’ve gotten larger samples from other boxes.

Mally Beauty High-Shine Liquid Lipstick Pens ($20)
This is a really awesome, full-size sample. This is the kind of thing people love to get in beauty boxes. I’m absolutely burnt-out on lip products though, so I’m not really interested. This will probably go up for trade or, if no one wants to trade, into my daughter’s stocking this Christmas.

dr. brandt® pores no more vacuum cleaner ($11.25)
I’m very interested in trying this one. You might see a feature Saturday review about this product.

Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream ($17.73)
I just opened a new eye cream at home, so I’ll have to save this one for a bit before trying. A good edition for my stash though and you just have to love those high-value samples.

Harvey Prince Petaly Noir ($0)
You should know by now that perfume samples are not my favorite. I can easily get them for free at many stores (seriously, Sephora will give you a sample of anything on their shelves); I don’t need them in beauty boxes. I don’t like the smell of this one either.

Total value: $53.44
Total cost: $10

Coupon Alert: Use coupon code BENEFITPACK when you sign up and get two bonus Benefit samples with your first box.

And as always, if you want to sign up for your own Birchbox please be a dear and use my referral link.

My Birchbox came in a larger box this month and I didn’t have any clue why until I opened it up. Turns out I splurged this month and purchased the add-on Lorean Hope mini-cuff. Very cute. Smaller than I expected though. I was afraid it wouldn’t look right on my plus-size wrist, but it is nice. I’m not disappointed.
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Quirks and Confessions

If you catch me standing around at work or at an event, 99% of the time I will have my hands on my hips. I wish I could say I look casual or even authoritative. But no, I’m full on Peter Pan. Feet spread apart, palms out, goofy look on my face. If I cross my arms, it gets even worse.

I rarely shave my legs anymore. Hair removal irritates my keratosis pilaris and I would rather be hairy than irritated. This has not stopped me from wearing dresses almost every day though.

I have a freckle on my foot that I hate so much I remove it from photographs if it can be seen. This doesn’t make any sense as I am covered in freckles. I have no desire to remove any others, but this one little mark just has to go.

When we moved to this city and I went to the DMV to get an updated license, the worker asked if I still weighed [x]. Turns out my weight hadn’t been updated since I got it at the age of sixteen (and I lied then). Knowing that I clearly no long weighed anywhere near that number and she could plainly see that too, I broke out in uninhibited laughter. Then I lied about how much I weigh now. Just a little.

If you see me walking around with my headphones on there is a 99.99% chance my phone is in my bra. It is just so convenient.

The Official Pumpkin Taste Test

Number 3 on my FALL challenge, “eat something that really shouldn’t be pumpkin flavored,” has taken on a life of its own and grown into a pumpkin taste test. I sacrificed my afternoon yesterday, gathered up a few participants, and tasted all sorts of products trying to capitalize on America’s love of fall and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice.

Things you should know:
I don’t like pumpkin all that much. Take that into account when trusting my opinions.
My daughter is allergic to tree nuts, so any product containing that other fall favorite – pecans – was immediately excluded. [Although one product with almonds did sneak past my radar. Obviously, she didn't eat that one.]
My local grocery store didn’t have some of the weirdest pumpkin-flavored products on my list. Where is a Trader Joe’s when you need one!?

Let’s get started.

Pepperidge
Pepperidge Farm Milano Cookies, New Pumpkin Spice Flavored
Does it actually contain pumpkin? No
Pretty good. You taste more of the spices than any actual pumpkin (which makes sense since its pumpkin spice flavored). The tasters were torn on whether or not these were as good as classic Milano cookies.

Pepperidge Farm Swirl Bread, Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes, 2% or less.
Very good. The pumpkin taste is mild – it is spread throughout the bread in little bits. This would be great toasted with cinnamon and sugar or as French toast. The crust is a little dry and the cinnamon lines throughout the bread feel a little hard.

Kashi PopTart
Kashi Pumpkin Spice Flax Crunchy Granola Bars
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes, pumpkin seeds.
Good granola, but you don’t really get a lot of pumpkin. I wouldn’t really count this as a fall product. It just tastes natural.

Pop-Tarts Limited Edition Frosted Pumpkin Pie
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes, 2% of less.
Lots of pumpkin taste, very pumpkin-spicy. Overall, this one just tastes like a poptart.

Jello
Jell-o Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Snack
Does it actually contain pumpkin? No
The cheesecake taste was very strong, so much so that any pumpkin flavor was overshadowed. Three of the five tasters put their spoons down without finishing a small bite.

Faces Chips
Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes
These cookies look like Sackboy from Little Big Planet. Good. The cookies were consumed in their entirety. I even thought they tasted pretty good.

Garden of Eatin’ Pumpkin Chips
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes
It looks like a pumpkin spice Dorito. Tasted like a regular tortilla chip severely lacking in salt, although the tasters agreed you tasted more pumpkin as you ate more. The general opinion was they would be good in a salsa.
One brave taster dipped his chip into the cheesecake pudding snack. His only comment, “Well, it has flavor.”

Ice Cream Bakery
Turkey Hill Limited Edition Pumpkin Pie
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes
Overall, we thought this was really good. There was less agreement over whether or not we would eat a whole bowl or go to the store to get it specifically. The little bits of graham crackers really upped the flavor.

Palmer’s Candies Pumpkin Pie Pretzels
Does it actually contain pumpkin? No
These smell very strong and are very spiced. This actually works with the salt on the pretzels – this was actually the taste we expected from the chips.

Two-Bite Pumpkin Tarts
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes
This is sweet crust with a little bit of icing on top. The filling has very little flavor, even when trying to isolate and eat just it. This is the least pumpkiny thing we tasted today.

Drinks
Welch’s Limited Edition Sparkling Pumpkin Spice Flavored Juice Cocktail
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Yes, pumpkin juice.
This smells very strong of pumpkin, but doesn’t have the taste to pack it up. Opinions were mixed between the tasters ranging from a great big no to a yum.

Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat
Does it actually contain pumpkin? Sort-of, brewed with ripe pumpkins
Tastes like beer with spicy aftertaste. It’s fine.

Kroger Pumpkin Egg Nog
Does it actually contain pumpkin? No
Only slightly spiced. Good egg nog. Very cinnamony, but doesn’t make you think pumpkin.

Ice Chips
Ice Chips Candy, Pumpkin Spice
Does it actually contain pumpkin? No
Weird. No. Not good.

Saturday Review: Pedigree Stackerz

stackerz

Do my dogs like them? Yes.
Do my dogs like every snack? Yes.
Do my dogs eat trash if they can get their paws on it? Yes.

I don’t think the taste test is really the best way to review.

These treats were just fine for the dogs. I liked that they came in easily separable pieces – like a big meat candy bar. My dogs are two different sizes and buying something easily portionable could eliminate the need to buy two different packages of snacks.

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Overall, good.

FYI: I received a package of Stackersz free from Influenster for review purposes. Opinions are my own.

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FALL Challange Update

Time to see what I’ve accomplished on Stephanie’s Freakin’ Awesome Legendary List (FALL) challenge.

2) Drink a pumpkin spice latte DONE!
Will I lose PSL street cred if I admit never trying one of these? Anyway. . . so, I had my first pumpkin spice latte a couple of weeks ago. It felt odd breaking from my usual venti, no whip, nonfat, white chocolate mocha, but I persevered. In order to experience the drink at its best, I ordered it as-is. No substitutions or deletions.

First drink – Yum. This is pretty good.
Third drink – Yeah, I can see why people like this.
Eighth drink – That aftertaste is weird.
Tenth drink – Yeah, no. Ew.
Empty cup – I need to get rid of this taste. Anyone have gum?

I did not like the pumpkin spice latte. To be fair, I’m not a big pumpkin fan. It tasted good to me initially, very spicy-chai, but that didn’t last long. Also, it was kind of orange. Apparently, I don’t like my coffee to be orange tinted. I will not be ordering that again.

3) Eat something that really shouldn’t be pumpkin flavored COMING SOON!
This one has grown into a full-on pumpkin product taste-testing event. I have a group getting together on Sunday – we will try all of the weird products so you don’t have to. Look for a post about our results on the 20th.

5) Create a centerpiece with gourds COMING SOON!
I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to do for my gourd centerpiece, but it will contain these miniature donut pumpkins.

8) Buy candy corn, but probably don’t eat it DONE!
It was purchased and – as expected – I only ate one piece. It did look pretty nice sitting out on the table though. I completely forgot to take a photo; you will just have to trust me on this one.

15) Create a fall-themed wreath COMING SOON!
I did a short poll on facebook asking readers to choose their favorite wreath out of four possible choices. I’m planning to have this done by the end of the month (to go up when the Halloween decorations come down).

Big Bang Birthday

We had a family birthday party for the little man on Sunday. Since his favorite television show in the whole wide world is The Big Bang Theory, we decided to use that for a theme. We do family parties for the kids about an hour away for home where the majority of the family lives; any decorations we plan have to be portable or easily created with supplies we can fit in the car. Sometimes this is a challenge.

This year, we kept the decorations low-key and depended on helium-filled balloons to create the party atmosphere. Mom Tip #1 – If you need to make a room “party-ready” on the cheap, get a bunch of latex balloons and let them float all over the ceiling. Instant party.

We were pretty pleased with the results.

The food table. Arguably, the most important part of a party. Do you see the tiny posable Sheldon?

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Close-up of the cupcakes. We simply printed out some science-related vector art, taped them to toothpicks, and. . . personalized cupcakes! We also cut corners on the cupcakes this year. I highly suggest Sam’s for tasty, cheap, cupcakes if you need a quick fix.

Mom Tip #2: Fancy cakes are fun and taste delicious, but when it comes right down to it no one is going to be disappointed with tasty store-bought. 

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For the rest of the treats, we use some of our favorite things from the show. These also served as take-aways in place of goodie bags.

First up, Meemaw’s Moon Pies because Sheldon’s Meemaw calls him her Moon Pie. These were the double-decker variety.

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Next, Sheldon’s Red Vines. Okay, so those are clearly Twizzlers. Sam’s didn’t have a big package of Red Vines and to avoid making another stop we compromised. Sheldon’s quote about Red Vines vs. Twizzlers is actually “They have Twizzlers instead of Red Vines. No amount of lumbar support can compensate for that.” We adopted this quote instead, “Excuse me, in what universe are Slurpies Icees?”

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Howard’s Fruit Loops after his astronaut nickname. If our party was lunch-based, I would have substituted Howard’s Mom’s Brisket.

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Raj was a little bit harder. We ended up going with a can’t talk to girls unless he is drunk thing and got bottled root beer. People didn’t immediately make the connection, but they loved the root beer.

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Penny Blossoms! Another stretch here – I hoped to find flower cookies that might resemble Penny’s hair accessory business, but went with the flower-reminiscent toys instead.

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Leonard might not get the more interesting station, but it just as important.

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Last but not least, the whole gang ready for their photo op.

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Something Different Saturday Review: Museum-Go-Round

TripAdvisor released their 2014 for best U.S. museums a few weeks ago. There is nothing I love to do more than visit a good museum. Let’s tackle the list and compare notes. Have you been to any of these? What did you like? Hate? Would you recommend it?

I will say I already have a complaint with the list; it lumps all different kinds of museums together when they could stand on their own as individual categories (art, history, etc.)
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The list! In reverse order because it is more dramatic that way.

25. The Henry Ford (Dearborn, Michigan)
I’ve never been to the Henry Ford, but it has been a secret dream of mine to work there someday. Guess I should visit first.

24. National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Dayton, Ohio)
Heard great things about this one, but never seen it for myself. Actually – insert gasp here – I’ve never been to Ohio at all.

23. National World War I Museum (Kansas City, Missouri)
OMG. I love this museum. Anytime anyone mentions Kansas City or military history, I take the opportunity to sing the praises of this World War I Museum. I even have two converts who visited on my recommendation and fell in love too. It was informative, engaging, and great for a wide age range.

22. Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Another I haven’t seen. My parents went however, and found it very moving.

21. Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix, Arizona)
Never even heard of it. Anyone been?

20. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Always great to see a local place on the list! If you remember from a few months ago, we finally made it to Crystal Bridges for the first time earlier this year and it did not disappoint. Plus, free! Read about my trip here.

19. Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, Illinois)
Another one already on my to-visit list.

18. Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, Massachusetts)
Never been and it probably wouldn’t be on my to-do list. What does it have to offer that the other art museums on this list don’t?

17. The Ringling (Sarasota, Florida)
Never heard of this one either. I looked it up – the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Yes, that Ringling family. Yes, it does include a circus museum. And a 56-room palace, and gardens, and a historic theater, and an education center. I really sounds like something I would enjoy, so it will be added to the to-visit list too.

16. Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Illinois)
Love, love, love this museum. Really. It is excellent for kids and adults. The first time the husband and I went, we didn’t even have a kid with us. It was still just that good. Take your family to this museum.

15. Ground Zero Museum Workshop (New York City)
I haven’t been to NYC post 9/11, so I certainly haven’t seen this. But . . . hmm, I’m really not sure what I think. From what I can read online, this is a for-profit museum set up by a photographer. It is not the official 9/11 Museum (the one that has had all the controversy recently over items being sold in the gift shop).

14. United State National Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC)
I can still remember the way I felt walking through this museum. I’ve only been once – fifteen years ago – so you can imagine the impact it had on me. So incredibly moving.

13. Smithsonian Museum of National History (Washington DC)
A classic! Fun, but super busy if you try to go anytime there are tourists in town (read: anytime).

12. National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida)
Never been. I’ve always kind of thought once you’ve seen one historic airplane, you’ve seen them all. Maybe this museum would change my mind? I doubt I’ll ever find out.

11. Frick Collection (New York City)
I didn’t think I had heard of this one, but a quick visit to the website made me realize I did know it. It house European art in a gorgeous historic home.

10. Newseum (Washington DC)
Sadly, I have never been to this one either. It was on my hope-to-do-list for my recent DC trip, but I just never made it. Maybe next time!

9. Arizona-Sorona Desert Museum (Tucson, Arizona)
Another one that is foreign to me. The website says it is a “zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.” Sounds pretty neat.

8. Chihuly Gardens and Glass (Seattle, Washington)
I have never been to this one. I’m a big Chihuly fan though, so I’m sure I would enjoy myself.

7. USS Midway Museum (San Diego, California)
Nope, never been. Revealing fact about me though – I used to work for a submarine museum and have a soft spot for the Navy.

6. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (Washington DC)
Another classic. It wasn’t my favorite to visit, but it still excellent.

5. National Gallery of Art (Washington DC)
Yes! One of my favorite art galleries.

4. The National World War II Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana)
This one is great for kids all the way up to WWII veterans. Some of it could use some updating, but the recent additions are spectacular. It is a full-day’s activity, for sure.

3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City)
Hmmm . . . how have I never been to this one? It just seems like someplace I would have visited.

2. The Getty Center (Los Angeles, California)
A great place, but it doesn’t beat out the National Gallery in my mind.

1. Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)
Another of my favorite art galleries, up there with the Louvre and Picasso Museum in Paris.

Do you agree with #1? If not, what is your top choice?
I’ve only been to the Art Institute once, but I loved it. I can’t say it would be my #1 though. Picking from this list, my top choices would probably be the National World War I Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the National Gallery of Art, and the U.S. National Holocaust Memorial Museum. I would have a very hard time choosing a favorite from those four.

Is there something you can’t believe isn’t on the list?

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