Saturday, December 18, 2010

Creating The Island

This phase of the renovation truly changed the feel of our kitchen. Ready for some good stuff? Yay!

First, we took out a big, mean, sturdy wall.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moving the Kitchen Sink: 3 $#&% Days!

Around 10am the Sunday after Thanksgiving I lost it. The frustrations of a year of DIY projects finally boiled over. After a 10 minute rant and a hundred expletives later all my Dad could say was "I get it." At that point, we pulled the sink cabinet back out and got to it.

This story all started about 13 years ago when the less than skilled tradesmen and poor supervision of an unqualified builder cared less about doing something right and cared more about getting it done. The kitchen in our unit had many flaws, but one that drove me nuts more than anything is that the sink and the window didn't line up. Was the sink in the wrong spot or the window in the wrong spot? I have no idea, but our kitchen update gave us the chance to fix that.

Mrs. Fix-It and I had been making progress on the kitchen renovation, but relocating the sink was the one item I knew I would have to enlist the help of my Dad. I know, how cute, father and son working together. Typically he and I working together is anything but cute.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Reverb10: Make

December 6 :
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

I'll keep this one short and sweet since I'm behind on my reverbing. Plus, you'll get to see lots more of this project on this blog.

We're renovating our kitchen. All by ourselves. I'm really proud of Mr. Fix-It, and I'm also proud of my contributions. It's a lot of work, washing dishes in the bathroom is a giant pain, and losing weekend after weekend to physical labor is tedious but it will all be worth it in the end.

Reverb10: Let Go

December 5:
Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I allowed myself to let go of me and embrace we.

My independence is of paramount importance. That's partially a tribute to how I was raised, and partially speaks to how I operate in the world. If I decided I want to do something, up until recently, I was just going to go ahead and do it. The idea of asking someone for their feedback didn't feel romantic, it felt childish. I struggled greatly with moving from me to we.

My husband, on the other hand, embraced the we from the start. Being part of a team clicked for him immediately. "Checking in" over the purchase of a sweater didn't feel disempowering, it was for the greater good of our future, finances, and he actually liked my input. (That's probably a silly example, but a perfect one - the idea of asking someone if I could buy a sweater makes me batty as a grown, working woman. I have to ask you if I can buy a sweater?! This is a conversation?)

There have been many instances where I have had to challenge myself to "let go" of my previous mode of operating, and accept that I am now part of something greater than myself.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Back to the Backsplash

Remember when I bid our backsplash adieu? I thought it was due time to update you on the latest.

 So, when we left off, we not only had a removed backsplash but also gaping holes in the wall. Why, you ask?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Reverb10: Wonder

December 4:
How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

When I hear the word "wonder" or think of cultivating a sense of wonder I can't help but picture children marveling at the world with wide eyes. Something about those sentiments are intertwined.

For me, cultivating a sense of wonder has occurred within the last few days. Last year at this time, Mr. Fix-It and I had just bought our condo, were recently engaged, and for all intents and purposes should have been celebrating a "first" Christmas of sorts. But we didn't. We didn't decorate, we didn't embrace the season. We spent the holidays 1,000 miles apart. Christmas was non-existent in our home. Nothing feel cold, or absent, it just felt like life went on. We made the decision that our real first Christmas would be our first married Christmas.

And so it was.

Warming our home with decorations, lights, holiday music and smells of family recipes has cultivated a sense of wonder in my life. It has for Mr. Fix-It too. Traditions, whatever they are, connect you to a piece of the past and help you look to the future. Mr. Fix-It and I opened a bottle of wine, curled up on our sofa, shared stories of Christmases from our childhoods and imagined years to come with our own children.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Reverb10: Moment

December 3:  
Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I mulled over this post all day yesterday. I mulled over it this morning. I can cut myself some slack because I only started reverbing yesterday, so I'm playing a little catch up, but also I'm struggling with a thought: are all my posts going to be about the same two things? Namely, losing Mr. Fix-Its mom and our wedding?

 Part of me says these will be the most boring and tedious 31 days of posting if I write about the same things over and over, and the other part of me says that those are the two most powerful experiences that have occurred in the past year and yes, they will come up again and again. Where does that leave me? Frankly, I'm not sure - so bear with me.

The best writing is honest, so I'm going to share my most honest experience of my most "alive moment". Our home phone rang at 5:48am on the morning of Tuesday, July 20. My heart dropped into my stomach and all I could think was, "oh, shit". Then I told myself, "no, no one calls our home phone. It's a wrong number at this hour. I'll just go back to bed." Then Mr. Fix-It's cell phone rang. We both looked at each other and knew something bad was happening. My heart raced. My stomach sank.

Four days prior we had learned that Mr. Fix-It's Mom's cancer was beyond treatment. They had given her a few months to live, and we were all in shock, denial, and disbelief. At that point, they were projecting her to live to approximately our wedding date. It was like a cruel joke. The days ahead that we were all so anxiously counting down, suddenly became unthinkable. All we wanted to do was hit pause. We received the news on a Friday. Our bachelor and bachelorette parties were planned for that weekend. We decided to proceed with our plans and then regroup once the weekend was over. Thoughts of an "emergency wedding" were already swirling in my head.

I went to Vegas. I returned to Chicago Midway at 11:55pm on July 19. By the time I got home I curled up with Mr. Fix-It in bed. We talked, we cried, we shared our thoughts and fears regarding the next few weeks and months. No sooner did we slip into sleep, than the phone rang with "the call".

"She just threw up a bunch of blood. We're on our way to the hospital. Come now." We leapt out of bed. Mr. Fix-It asked me if I thought he should shower. I said yes, it would probably be a long day. I can still hear the squeak of the shower handle and as he entered the bathroom he looked back and me and said, "Well, here we go..." I put on my work clothes. Black pants, ruffly purple top, black cashmere cardigan. I can still feel my feet slipping into my silver Tory Burch's. My hands were shaking. I was cold. Cold and terrified. That is the moment I felt most alive.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Reverb10: One Word

I'm a little late to the party, but at least I showed up, right?

One Word: Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you're choosing that word. Now imagine it's one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

This year has shown me the power of the heart. Heartache. Heartbreak. Heart-racing anticipation. Heart-filling joy! This year has brought such an extreme of emotion it seems like a feat of the human spirit to be able to withstand it all.

The year started with a sense of worry - Mr. Fix-It's Mom's cancer had returned, and my Mom had gotten word she had a tumor in her pancreas. Both underwent treatment, my Mom's surgery was as successful as possible, and Mr. Fix-It's Mom began chemotherapy. However, as many of you know, we lost her in July. The loss will remain in our hearts for a lifetime.

The year also brought the most amazingly heart-filling, heart-brimming, overwhelming, beautiful joy.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This post just went up on Weddingbee, and I wanted to share it with you here as well!

I have so, so much to be thankful for this year—a wonderful wedding exactly two months ago, a loving and witty husband, an exceptional and strong family, fantastic friends, and Weddingbee community that is a regular highlight in my day. I am thankful for my job. A year ago I was miserably unemployed, and I am so glad to be working toward my dream. I am thankful for the Starbucks next door to our home. The friendly smiles and coffee are the perfect start to any day, and I’d be working at said Starbucks if I hadn’t found my job (ha). I’m thankful for technology, specifically my iPhone. It provides hours of entertainment and keeps me connected to those I love. I’m thankful for cute flats, fluffy bedding, and scarves often too.

Most of all, this Thanksgiving makes me overwhelmingly thankful for last Thanksgiving. It was the first and only Thanksgiving I will have been able to spend with Mr. Fix-It’s Mom. I got to try her famous recipes, soak in the smells of her kitchen, and know what made Thanksgiving so special for Mr. Fix-It. It was my first Thanksgiving away from home, and now I realize it was especially worth it.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010 least the anticipation was worth it

Despite the outcome, it was seriously awesome to be a part of Wrigley Field and Northwestern history on Saturday. If you happen to be a non-football, non-Chicagoan: Northwestern University hosted the Fighting Illini at Wrigley Field on Saturday, November 20. The last college football game was played at Wrigley in 1938. The iconic red Wrigley Field sign was painted Northwestern purple for the occasion and alums old and young swarmed the event. (Yay for being a NU Alum twice over!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Shells On The Beach: Our Honeymoon (The End!)

After 6 ridiculously lazy days at the Aventura Spa Palace, we kicked it up a notch and spent the remaining 4 days of our honeymoon at the PlayaCar Palace in Playa Del Carmen.

Mr. Fix-It and I gave the property a quick once-over and were immediately pumped. Aventura Spa Palace was more of a "resort property" and PlayaCar Palace felt more like an urban, trendy, hotel. It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Shells On The Beach: Our Honeymoon (Part Three)

The thing I swore I wouldn't do...

I know, you've totally been dying to know what I swore I wouldn't do. It's really not that exciting, but I really, really, swore I wouldn't.

I'm anti-post wedding chop. I honestly don't get it. It's like you grow out all this long, gorgeous hair (which takes foreverrrrrrrrr) to create a certain look for your wedding day, and then you chop it all off the first chance you get. Now, I'm all for change. One part that bothers me is that you immediately outdate your wedding photos. Or similarly, why grow out your hair in the first place if you're someone who genuinely doesn't ever wear their hair long? The caveat being, of course, the up-do. Sure, sure, I'll go with that one. I guess I fell into that category - I figured I'd let my hair grow like crazy so I'd have the most options available for my wedding day 'do. I guess the part I get hung up on is creating a wedding look that isn't really "you" in everyday life. Plus, if you've worked toward creating something, why destroy it so quickly?

So, perhaps the moral of my babbling rant is that - in fact - I'm not anti-post wedding chop but more anti-do something totally out of character just for your wedding.

My story? I grew my hair out in anticipation of our wedding.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shells On The Beach: Our Honeymoon (Part Two)

When considering the criteria for our honeymoon, it was pretty straightforward: warm and tropical, lots of lounging and relaxation, good food, fruity drinks, no hiking, no sight-seeing, no tours, no guilt over doing nothing. Additionally, Mr. Fix-It and I are fortunate enough to be fairly well-traveled, and although there are many, many, many more places we hope to visit and explore we decided our honeymoon was not the time to do that. As much as I'm dying to lay on a beach on Phuket, I couldn't rationalize traveling halfway across the world with only the desire to lay around. I'll save that trip for another time when I'm more motivated to explore. All in all, Mexico was the perfect choice. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shells On The Beach: Our Honeymoon (Part One)

Our honeymoon has come and gone. And oh, was it amazing. When people ask, I can't help but say, "we did a whole lot of nothing, which was absolutely perfect".

I guess I'll start at the beginning:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hello from Mr. Fix-It

I thought I would take an opportunity to take a break from my projects and get started on this blog. Plus, it gives me a good reason to sit on the couch and watch some Football. I'll be pulling for Mike Wallace to have a good game and the Bengals to put some points on the board. While we are talking about it, a little background: I am having a rough Fantasy Football Season this year. Starting out 1-7. Fortunately some of the other things going on in my life have been a bit more successful. A little over a year ago my now wife and I purchased our own little place to call home. It is a fairly standard 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, condo in Chicago. I was quite impressed with Mrs. Fix-It's idea to write a blog titled "The Fix-Its" being it is very appropriate. With some luck I can entertain you with experiences as I fumble through things and educate you when I get lucky and do something right.

A disclaimer: I am far from a professional anything. I take that back. I am a Professional Electrical Engineer and that has little bearing on anything I will likely share on this blog. Seriously though, I like to think I am an expert and might try to sound like one, but I recommend if you like my ideas you add your own research.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Dear Backsplash,

We've never been friends. You're weird and ugly. I'm sorry, but you day has come.

Not So Fondly,
Mrs. Fix-It

And so it was...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It's Renovation Time.

Well, a kitchen renovation is well underway in the Fix-It household. Care to follow along?

1. Here's a photo from the day we made an offer on our condo:

2. And here we are all moved in:

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Party Continues...

If I thought my life in "wedding world" was dwindling down, my mailbox this week gave me a friendly reminder that there's plenty more partying to do! I'm thrilled - two of my dearest friends from college are getting married in 2011. Mr. Fix-It and I will get to bookend the year with two fabulous weddings - one in January and one in December - both of which I'm going to share with you!

So, as I've mentioned no less than 87 times, I looooooove wedding invitations. My week started with a fantastic one! Wanna see?

I adore the simplicity of the letterpress juxtaposed with the shimmer of the pocketfold.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh, you TEASE! itty, bitty teaser from our wedding!!!

My Own Piece of Adulthood

When I was little, there were a few things I associated with being a grown-up. The usual, of course - driving a car, wearing high heels and perfume, and sleeping in a big, comfy bed. Likely a less common association with adulthood was having a beautiful, framed wedding invitation prominently displayed in a master bedroom. But, for me, the framed wedding invitation always was one of those important markers. As a kid, I remember seeing my parent's wedding invitation in their bedroom and thinking it was just magical. I'd carefully study the words, look closely at the names, the date, the time and the swirls of the letters. Something about it drew me in.

Then, when our invitations arrived in July I didn't immediately run to the framer. I got superstitious. I convinced myself that framing our invitation before the wedding would seal our fate that something would go awry. So, in a totally out of character move, I waited.

Upon our return from our honeymoon, however, I was at the framer first chance I got. Just a few days later I had my own piece of adulthood, ready to be hung in our master bedroom. Maybe someday one of our little ones will marvel at this piece of wedding history just as I did.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Gifting My Girls

{My Lovely Ladies:  Julia,  Allie,  Ashley,  Leah &  Carrie}
I can't start a post about my bridesmaids without sharing with all of you how exceptional each and every one of these girls has been to me. They were an easy choice for a bridal party from the start, but they truly stepped up when I needed them most over the past year. It only reinforced that I genuinely have some really, really wonderful best friends.

When Mr. Fix-It and I got engaged, these were the first people I called (parents aside, of course). When Mr. Fix-It's Mom was diagnosed with cancer, they were always checking in - not only on her, but on us. Bridesmaid Ashley is a resident at the hospital where Mr. Fix-It's Mom was treated. She often went out of her way to personally say hi and check in. When things took a serious turn for the worse, these girls immediately asked how they could help to plan an emergency wedding ceremony. And, when that quickly became unnecessary, they were there to console, and made eager offers to travel for funeral services after having just traveled for a bachelorette party and bridal shower. Their love and support has been unbelievable.

When it came time to give them gifts as a token of my thanks, I racked my brain.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is This Thing Even Legit?

Allegedly Mr. Fix-It and I have been married for almost a month. "Woo hoo!!!" right? Sure, totally. I'm all about that. Except one tiny detail. We're yet to see anything in writing.

So, you know, aside from the whole wedding thing - with the vows and exchange of rings and the whole "woo hoo!!!" - we have no documented evidence of a legally binding marriage.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

There Was Joy

Our wedding was an absolute, amazing, constant outpouring of love and joy. I have never felt such an intensity of celebration in my life.

That whole "best day of my life thing"? It's about the joy. It's phenomenal.

Monday, October 11, 2010

First Meal as a Husband

I work late on Mondays and Tuesdays. Typically Mr. Fix-It puts together dinner on these nights and has something yummy waiting for me upon my arrival home. Tonight was no exception, and it was kind of special because it was the first meal he prepared for me as a husband.

However, he was working with the same ingredients I had available last night (see yesterday's post). I wasn't expecting much. In fact, I was thinking we'd wind up eating cereal. Or ordering take out.

Somehow, though, he manged to pull this off:

Some sort of magical flank steak with veggies inside and green beans. Show off. (Maybe I should have opened the freezer last night.) He made my sad quesadillas look even sadder.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

First Meal as a Wife

Since returning from our honeymoon, Mr. Fix-It has managed to build an entire computer from scratch but a run to the grocery store hasn't topped the priority list. Tonight was our first quiet night at home and I had the opportunity to cook my first meal as a wife. Here's what I had to work with:

Holy pathetic.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We Got Maaaaaaaarried!

…and it was beyond, beyond, beyond amazing. I CAN’T WAIT to tell you all about it, but for now I’m back to honeymooning!
Mrs. Fix-It

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One Year Ago...

We became homeowners!

After months and months of searching, and financing nightmares with the state of the economy, we closed on our condo on August 3, 2009. And then the real fun began. I learned that my then-boyfriend soon-to-be fiance was my very own Mr. Fix-It!

We took on project...

after project...