The Weirdest US Museums to Visit
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The Weirdest US Museums to Visit

Land of the free, home of the weird

Let's face it--not everyone is into visiting museums. Museums can be boring. But these museums--some of the weirdest in the U.S.--will be sure to please even the most ardent anti-museum person.

The Museum of Broken Relationships (Los Angeles, CA)

Maybe don't visit this museum when you're in a happy relationship? The last thing you want to do it jinx it. The Museum of Broken Relationships is a treasure trove of objects and mementos donated to the museum along with the story to go along with that object.

If you have an object you'd like to donate, the museum is always taking donations. It might be therapeutic or freeing to donate something after a relationship ended.

The International Spy Museum (Washington, DC)

Listen, everyone at some point wanted to be a spy. Whether it was from watching the bomb shows Totally Spies or Kim Possible, being a spy was seen as so freaking cool. This museum tells the stories of real spies throughout history and all the objects they used. From exhibits to artifacts to interactives you can do, this museum is the end all, be all of spy museums.

The International Spy Museum is so encompassing that they're even in the process of building a new one that is double the floor space of the old one--which means way more cool spy stuff to look at.

National Mustard Museum (Middleton, Wisconsin)

This is definitely a niche museum, but even I can appreciate how weird it is that there is a National Mustard Museum. And if you like mustard, you're gonna love this museum and its collection of mustard history--with 5,676 mustards from all 50 states and more than 70 countries.

Another bonus of this museum is it has free admission, so you won't have to pay to visit the National Mustard Museum unless you want to give a donation.

Idaho Potato Museum (Blackfoot, Idaho)

Listen, everyone likes potatoes--whether they're mashed, roasted or french fried. So everyone should want to visit the Idaho Potato Museum. This museum will teach you about the history of the potato, how farmers farm potatoes and they even have a potato lab and a potato cinema.

The Idaho Potato Museum is also a holder of a Guinness World Record for the largest potato crisp ever made, so that's worth seeing in and of itself.

International Banana Museum (Mecca, California)

After visiting this museum, you won't have to rely on Gwen Stefani's Hollaback Girl to be able to spell banana. This museum is bananas about bananas (sorry, not sorry) with a collection of pretty much anything banana-related. From cookie jars to pencil sharpeners to harmonicas and a banana shaped record player, you've gotta visit this museum, even if it's just to say that you did.

Another great feature of this museum is that if you follow their Facebook page, they have their own international banana ambassador, Platty, that goes around the world.

National Museum of Funeral History (Houston, TX)

This museum is a bit morbid--yes--but it's also super fascinating, tbh. They have 14 permanent exhibits all about world funeral cultures from embalming to historical hearses and coffins and caskets of the past.

Besides its permanent exhibits, the museum also has special exhibits that serve as their rotating exhibits. The special exhibits vary, but right now they have exhibits on the making of a saint, a funeral artifact collection and the history of cremation.

Now go out and visit these weird museums!


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The Best Parts of a Road Trip

The vacation before the vacation

For me, the best vacations are road trips. A road trip is the giant buildup to your epic vacation. Hell, it's the vacation before the vacation. While traveling by airplane is nice, the perks of a road trip far outweigh the perks of air travel.

The Food
My mom has a rule when we road trip: If you can eat it at home, we aren't eating there. So all the food on our road trip - or at least on the way there - are places that we can only find in that specific place. This leads to finding a lot of really interesting and delicious restaurants. And who doesn't love delicious food?

The Attractions
On one of our road trips, we found the world's largest pistachio. No joke. When you are on a road trip, there are definitely some weird, albeit interesting, attractions. But that's what's awesome about a road trip. You just don't know what you'll find until you go. And part of a good road trip is finding random attractions in the middle of nowhere.

The Destination
Yes, the journey is a lot of fun, but ultimately the point of a road trip is to get somewhere. And you begin a road trip with a destination in mind, so it makes sense that the destination is definitely a wonderful part of a road trip. And, once you get there, you are no longer stuck in a cramped car so that's definitely a plus.

Going Home
I love a good road trip. But after a week or two away from home, staying in hotels, and being surrounded by your family all the time, getting home is definitely the best way to end your road trip vacation. There's nothing like collapsing on your couch after a week or two away.

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Pokemon GO Is Here to Stay

Augmented Reality > Reality.

Some of my fondest memories are long car trips in the back seat of my mom's minivan, doing my best to conserve the final moments of dying sunlight projected onto my gameboy screen as I play through gym leader after in gym leader on Pokemon Red.

I still remember getting my first copy of Pokemon Blue, which my brother sold to our neighbor Chris for bootleg fireworks (fuck you, Davide). I still have my Shaq binder I got at the scholastic book fair in elementary school, filled with holographics.

Memories like mine are not uncommon. Pokemon is so ubiquitous that everyone probably has some memory associated with it, even our parents, who might just remember it as the game that got us to shut up for a few hours.

But what I remember most of all from my childhood is how badly I wished Pokemon were real. To be able to go outside and encounter a Pikachu would be my version of childhood nirvana.

As of yesterday, that dream has finally been realized - kinda.

PokemonGO, a free app available for both iOS and Android devices, is the newest installation in the Pokemon universe. And it's doing something no other major video game franchise has done before, incorporated augmented reality into the gameplay.

Augmented reality basically uses your phone's camera to project graphics onto what's actually there. Take this picture for example.

That's me catching a Bulbasaur at my desk at work (pls don't tell my boss. Just kidding, she doesn't care.)

PokemonGO also uses GPS, to magnificent effect, as the map for the entire game. The world is literally where the game takes place. You can find pokemon anywhere you walk around, as long as you have the game open.

Just this morning I caught a Pidgey on the way to work.

The game amazingly even recognizes landmarks near you (i.e. murals, churches, fire stations) as "pokestops" which are places where you can replenish your pokeballs and other in-game items.

The catch is you have to be physically near these places to use them, which require a lot of walking IRL. (Calling it now: PokemonGO ends the obesity epidemic).

Players all over the world are split into three different colored teams corresponding with a "gym" of that color. Gyms are where all the fighting happens.

The point is to takeover gyms (for example if I'm on the yellow team, I want to beat the blue gym and turn it yellow), and defend them. This has the incredible effect of making you allies with neighbors you don't know, battling for virtual turf that nobody can see.

It's really, really cool.

This game has incredible staying power. I've had it all of one day and it's already changed my routine. I took a different route to the train today just to pass a couple extra pokestops.

Also, did I mention the game is free.?

My favorite part about this whole thing? The memes.

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5 Ways to Have an Awesome Staycation

Because not everyone goes on vacation.

You're not going on vacation. No fun road trips or traveling out of state. You're basically dying inside.

Well, buck the hell up because you can have fun right where you are.

Stay Positive
If you mope around about how much your summer sucks, it definitely will. Embrace the fact that you aren't going anywhere and make do with what you have. Because moping around is not a fun way to spend your summer, even if all you're doing is staying home. Change your perspective.

Explore Your Hometown
Chances are, your hometown has something you have not seen before. Take a day and go downtown, see what fun things your city offers. Museums, zoos, amusement/water parks are just some of the things that your town might have, which you might be missing out on.

Find a New Hobby
I've been considering learning how to knit. And since most of my summer will be spent at home, maybe I'll try. Find something you've been wanting to try, or learn. The summer is a great time to find a fun, new hobby, especially if you have no big plans. Learn a sport, perfect your swim stroke, or try skydiving for the first time. A summer without plans is a summer full of opportunity.

Use this summer to watch all the television you've missed out on during college or to finally watch that show everyone's been talking about but you still haven't seen. I still haven't seen Breaking Bad, so that's definitely on the binge list for my summer. Or watch all the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies. A movie marathon is also awesome. Just relax at home and watch all the shows/movies that your heart desires.

Now this may not be the most glamourous way to spend your summer, but you can finally put those organization pins from Pinterest to use. Spend your summer organizing your things; doing this will probably make your life easier, whether you are going back for another year of school or going out into the real world. Organization is boring, but it definitely has its benefits. And it's oddly satisfying.

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Things to do Before Your Summer Getaway

Don't post on social media... just don't.

I know how exciting it is to be preparing for your summer vacay; trust me, mine's only a couple weeks away. The planning and daydreaming are the only things consuming your mind at this point. But don't forget to do some of these important things before you take off, because it can save you money (and possibly your belongings) in the end.

Unplug everything but the kitchen fridge.
Literally everything. Even if the microwave can be unplugged, do it. Electronics and appliances still consume energy when they're plugged into a source. If you're going to be away, why not unplug the things that won't be getting used? Money saver right there.

Leave outside lights on.
This is where you want to be spend a little bit of money on the power bill. Leaving your porch lights on (or even leaving a lamp on inside) can actually ward off burglars. It makes them think someone is home, and they're less likely to break in. You can also leave a radio on (if you're okay with the power being used) and the noise inside the house will also make a burglar think you're home.

Remove the spoil-prone food from the house.
Because nobody likes the smell or the bugs that it attracts. And don't just throw it away in your trash can and leave the trash bag in there. Remove it from your home entirely. Make sure you're trash is all clear, too.

Leave the curtains open in your bedroom.
If you allow your room to be dark and vacant for a week or two, bed bugs will most certainly move in while you're gone. They love dark places, and if you're not there to rustle up the covers and shake things out, they will stay for good.

Have someone you know and trust get your mail.
If you have a mailbox, that is. The number one sign that someone is away for a long period of time is the appearance of their mailbox overflowing with mail and newspapers. Have someone get them and keep them safe for you.

Lock your car if it's in the driveway.
Which should be common sense, but most people don't think about it because it's at their house. Lock your car if you're not going to be there to oversee it.

And most importantly (and this is going to be a tough one), don't post anything on social media while you're away about being on vacation. If someone sees that you're not home, it's the perfect opportunity for them to come and mess with your house and possibly break in. So save the artsy culture pics for another time. It'll be worth it.

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How to Keep Your Sanity While Sleeping in Your High School Bedroom

You mom will barge in and you will get mad.

Moving back home for the summer is such a weird step backwards. It's like you're independent all year, and then you go back to living in a house with rules, chores, and old people. Oh, and you have to get a job. Before you think things couldn't get any worse, remind yourself of a few things.

There won't be many summers left at your childhood home.
And though you might not feel like you care right at this moment, it'll hit you hard when the day finally comes. So enjoy the presence and familiarity of your own home. The real world tends to suck.

It's not forever, only three months.
So don't get used to having your mom do your laundry and meals being ready on the table. And also take advantage of long showers while you can, 'cause you know your water bill does not agree with that in college.

Consider the alternative.
It could be worse. Personally, I'd rather be surrounded by my family than live alone in a college town for three months with nearly everybody gone.

Remember that your parents miss this part of their lives.
They'll bask in what it feels like to have you home for that long of a time, and they'll do things that they used to do because they honestly miss taking care of you. Don't take that for granted.

Still have nights out.
If at all possible, it is totally OK to meet up with some old or new friends and do what you would usually do on a Saturday night in college. You might have a curfew (LOL), but at least you're still living it up a little bit.

Enjoy the absence of classes and studying!
Seriously, summer tends to feel like the most amazing time for college students. In high school, summers were relatively short, and there was still summer reading and sports to do. In college, you get a giant, three month break to just chill and make money at your job. It's pretty laid back and lucky, so don't complain.

And if you honestly can't keep it together, just keep reminding yourself that you will soon be back in college where you're untamed, and rather reckless. Funnnn.