Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some Christmas Traditions...

...may be due for retirement.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

And all through the house,
treats were baking
(with the help of my spouse), 

Dinner was served (and prepared with great care),

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Night at the Nutcracker!

Nothing like sneaking out of work a little early...
...grabbing a bite with some wonderful friends

enjoying The Nutcracker from box seats...

...and soaking in the wonder of the holiday season.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

1. Way back in July - in Greece - I bought "bird hooks". Mr. Fix-It thought I wanted them for our guest bath, but I was hoping to use them to hang necklaces in our bedroom. Being such a handy and get-it-done kind of guy, I thought it wouldn't be a big deal to get these placed and hung. But, for some reason, I have had to ask no less than 10 times if he could help me hang the hooks. Frankly, I would have done it myself, but I was advised that they were heavy and it would be preferred if I didn't mess up the walls. 5 months later, we finally have bird hooks hung!

My Dressing Area

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Tell ya friends, tell ya wife. It's a huge blog sale! Hosted by The Fix-Its, Bien Living, and Forty Twenty Four!

If you're interested in any of the items below, e-mail: thefixitsblog@gmail.com and give the item number. An invoice will be generated to the e-mail address you send from, via PayPal. Also, all prices INCLUDE shipping! Contact thefixitsblog@gmail.com if you have any questions too!

1. Patagonia Women's R4 Jacket. Size Large. Black. $40.
This is a great, warm and fuzzy fleece jacket. It's gotten a little wear, but is still in good condition. Originally $225.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Green Home

Hello all, it has been a while since I have posted anything on our blog.  Sunday was the first time in a while where I was actually bored and did not have some looming deadline over my head to address.

My other disclaimer is that while I write this our home is not being very green.  We have 400 lights on a 7ft tree, the gas fireplace is getting used fairly frequently, we keep turning on all the lights then dimming them to make that warm cozy feel, and I am annoyed that our furnace dumps all the hot air into our master bedroom.

I was reading this article Yahoo! Study: American Dream Homes Turn Green and it talked about the shift towards a green home being the dream home for many Americans.  I agree with the shift in people's focus on what they really need over making monster sized new homes sacrificing quality for quantity.  It also points out that while there are "Green Homes," like the ones that compost their own garbage and produce their own electricity, there are also green homes for normal people too.  One option discussed was about Energy Star rated appliances and that Energy Star is looking for a way to provide ratings on homes.  I am a little skeptical on the later as I am not sure how this agency can truly determine the "greenness" of your home.  Energy Star ratings on your appliances is a good place to start, but I think that is a far cry from claiming your home is green.

The other component to the equation is sustainability.  People consider that to be the type of products you use and the impact to the environment, but I also consider that to be how well the house holds up or sustains itself.  This is where I am not sure how Energy Star could have any benefit and the need falls on the owners (you and I) to be better educated.  This requires us to be a little more diligent when we are selecting contractors or working with our General Contractor on home projects.  We need to communicate our expectation that things are installed correctly and not just hire the lowest cost contractor.  How a home is constructed can have a higher impact on the energy costs than the appliances installed within.  The appliances have much shorter lifecycles than the typical infrastructure required to support them.

sealed duct with mastic.jpg

Monday, December 12, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

I thought I'd post Miscellaneous Mondays on a semi-regular basis, but it turns out I really enjoy this catch-all for my random ramblings.

1. Christmas Cards are done and mailed - so now you get to see them! I LOVE Christmas cards. As a kid, we used to get tons and tons of them (probably explains why my Mom has sent out 300 in a season) and I just loved pouring over the photos and updates. Well, those newsletter ones are still pretty lame in my opinion, but I read them nonetheless!

As mentioned before, I designed them myself. Also, I spent hours rounding the corners. Seriously - it makes such a difference!

Friday, December 9, 2011

All Decorated!

Last year, we decorated our condo for Christmas for the first time. The year before, we opted to skip decorating for some reason. Probably because we were celebrating with our respective families, and figured with all the travel it wasn't worthwhile. But something was missing.

 Now that we're on to year two, we've begun to develop our own traditions, have decorations that hold meaning, and stretch out the season as long as possible. Yes, we began playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thanksgiving, A Christmas Tree, & A Trip to NYC (Part 2)

After a delicious Thanksgiving, we embarked on an annual Christmas tradition Friday morning: Christmas Tree Shopping! As a kid, we always went to a tree farm and cut down the tree ourselves. As we got older, we opted for the ease of Home Depot. Ironically, the Home Depot trees ALWAYS managed to live longer. One year our farm tree died well before Christmas and we had to replace it entirely. Literally every last pine needle fell off.

This year we went halfway. We found a tree farm that had pre-cut trees.
Mr. Fix-It repeatedly shared that he couldn't open his eyes in the sun. Lookin' good, honey.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Thanksgiving, A Christmas Tree, & A Trip to NYC (Part 1)

It's been just over a week since we've been back from a fantastic trip to the East Coast to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend with my family. Here's Part 1 of our trip in photos!

The Bird: Before & After

Monday, December 5, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

1. We decorated for Christmas this weekend! (Us, and the rest of America, that is.) We really went all-out. This year my parents and sister will be cramming into our condo for the holidays, so we wanted to be especially festive. I'll share more details soon!

If you ever wondered what it's like to live in the city and purchase a Christmas tree, enjoy the photos below. My favorites are purchasing our tree on the ROOF of Home Depot, and setting the tree in its stand on a street corner. City living at its finest!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Facebook Fan Page!


Why not?

"Like" us on facebook to stay updated with the latest happenings on The Fix-Its. PLUS, I promise to post special "facebook fix-it exclusives" including outtakes and all of our project photos categorized in albums!

(Also, I'm trying to separate out my personal facebook page from our blog page.)

30 Before 30

As mentioned Tuesday, I went ahead and created a "30 before 30" list! I think the goals are very attainable, but also provide some challenge. I'm also creating a tab at the top of the blog so you can check in on my progress (because you know you're dying to know).

Here it is!

1. Take a Vinyasa Flow Yoga Class
2. Lose 5lbs in December
3. Lose 5lbs in January
4. Lose 5lbs in February
5. Lose 5 lbs in March
6. Run a mile without walking
7. Complete C25K
8. Paint our Master Bedroom
9. Whiten teeth (no whimping out because it hurts!)
10. Dine where we got engaged: Smith and Wollensky
11. Print photos people have requested, and send out
12. Sell stuff on eBay (that pile you've wanted to sell forever)
13. Start saving for dream lens
14. Host a dinner party
15. Organize iTunes files (it's been 2 years!)
16. Cook something amaaaaazing that took hours and hours to make
17. Photograph an infant
18. Back up ALL photo files!
19. Open my etsy shop
20. Vigilantly unsubscribe from junk e-mail
21. Clean out my shoe closet
22. Clean out closet. For real.
23. Post on my professional blog at least 1x weekly
24. Pass professional licensing exam
25. Blog comment 25x per week for a month
26. Call my grandmother 1x per week for a month
27. Surprise Mr. Fix-It with a romantic dinner
28. Have a "college night": get way dressed up, dance, and drink too much
29. Sew something - anything!
30. {Personal Goal}

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Fix: Organizing Tupperware

Unless you're really great about being organized, your tupperware drawer probably looks something like this:

No, that drawer isn't ours, it's just one I found on the internet. But, ours wasn't too far from looking like it.

Here's a simple, time-saving tip in organizing your tupperware. I learned this one from my in-laws!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday (on Tuesday...)

Mr. Fix-It and I returned from our Thanksgiving travel earrrrrrly yesterday morning and headed straight to work. No time for a Miscellaneous Monday post! Accept my apologies, and just think: this post says Monday, but you're really far into your Tuesday already. Yay!

1. Thanksgiving was great. I'll do a proper recap once I've got my photos organized. For now, just know that I got in LOTS of amazing, cuddly, baby cuteness time!

Why, yes, that is a photo of my dSLR view finder taken with my iPhone. Quality, friends.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for many things, as so much of this year has made me stronger, and my marriage stronger. I am thankful for my supportive, loving, committed, hard-working husband more than ever.

I am thankful for an exceptional family, for wonderful friends, and for the unbelievable amount of support from the blogging community. I’m also thankful for travel, photography, yoga and wine—they make life infinitely better!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Project Yet

I have been excited about this project for months! I have a feeling Mr. Fix-It doubted I'd actually make it happen, because sometimes I talk a big game.

After work on Friday, I wandered into a wooded area near my office. I had to scurry because there were No Trespassing signs about every 10 yards. What was I searching for? The Stick.

I shoved it in our car and drove for 2 hours (hideous traffic) with the stick by my side. I repeatedly told myself not to get into an accident because I kept imagining getting impaled by a giant stick and having to explain that one to ER doctors. Fortunately, I made it home just fine.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Creating an Ornament Wreath

After Mr. Fix-Its Mom passed away last year, we helped his Dad clean and organize the house. While we were sorting through the guest room, I found a box of ornaments under the bed. I looked through the box and realized it was a DIY Ornament Wreath just waiting to be completed! Mr. Fix-Its Dad insisted that he'd never do anything with it, and encouraged us to take it home.

Mr. Fix-Its Mom was remarkably crafty and creative, and had probably thoughtfully collected the ornaments for this project for quite some time.

     Here's what was included in the box:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Currently Loving: A Holiday Wishlist

For this month's Currently Loving, we're opting to post a Holiday Wishlist instead of sharing products we already own. Mr. Fix-It even put together a list!


1. Anthropologie Runway Lapel Coat: In my quest for a hot white coat, I've settled on this one being just what I'm looking for.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Sweet Nursery for a Sweet Baby Boy

When I was in Providence, I finally got to see Baby Miller's nursery! I had heard details here and there about colors and ideas, and was so thrilled to see the end result! It's an adorable mix of whimsical, bold, retro, and playful. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Arrange & Rearrange

A loooong time ago (April! Seriously - where does time go?!) I purchased this series of prints for our home. They made their way to a cozy spot by our kitchen and lived there for several months.

Then, in July, we found these plates in Greece with the intent of putting them on the kitchen shelves.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday

I rarely blog on Mondays. You should be SO excited!

On a somewhat regular basis, I'm going to post "Miscellaneous Mondays". I'm a sucker for alliteration, and it seems like a good catch-all for a recap of the weekend's activities or just general recent happenings.

1. I know I've mentioned this little man before, but I just have to share again. And I get to see him again at Thanksgiving! It will take most all of my self-control to not be a total baby-hog.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

October Photography Challenge (23-30)

Even though we're well into November, I decided it was due time to wrap up the 30-Day October Photography Challenge! Admittedly, I completely fell behind. I've decided Baby Miller's arrival is my excuse. He was born on October 25, and I flew to Providence to meet him! More on the cute little man and his adorable nursery later, though.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's a good day...

Just printed two copies: one for our master bath and one for my office! Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Photoshoot Faves

This weekend, I got to put my photography hobby to good use! I offered to take a Christmas Card Photo for Mr. Fix-Its cousins. They are the sweetest kids, and it was so much fun to have such willing models.

We took photos outside their house just before sunset. It was pretty chilly, but they were great sports. Before our photoshoot, I poured over blogs for family session inspiration. This would be my greatest tip: have a vision of what you're hoping to achieve. Without direction, the session could have fallen really flat. I probably sounded like a drill sargent, "Walk! Stop! Turn! Sit with your legs crossed. Closer! Tilt your head! Look away - look back!" but it worked so well! I tried to channel my inner-imaginary-professional.

Here are some of my faves:

I really, really loved taking these photos. And it begs the question, now what? I'm not planning on leaving my job to pursue photography (I'm not that talented), but it would be an absolute dream if I could shoot a family/couple/newborn session from time to time. It allows me to connect with people in a totally different way than I do in therapy, and it's a creative outlet that I find wonderfully fulfilling.

I've set up a blog with highlights of my favorite photos. Another blog? I know, seriously. For now, it's a "just for me" type thing, but I hope it can evolve into more.

How do you pursue your hobbies?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happenings via iPhone Pics

Row One:
1. My first experience kayaking! We went to visit Mr. Fix-Its Aunt and Uncle's lake house several weekends ago. It was just gorgeous and we got to kayak on a beautiful fall day.
2. A yummy, yummy bottle of wine we shared at our One Year Wedding Anniversary dinner. We're still trying to track it down.
Row Two:
3. Lafco Ski House Candle. It just smells like Christmas.
4. With Leah in San Francisco!  
Row Three:
5. Meeting Baby D last weekend. THE BEST!
6. Look at that sweetness.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog Update!

Yesterday, I was all over twitter ( @thefixits ) talking about photography gear. I decided it was time to update the "My Camera" tab of our blog. Take a peek!

Design Dilemma

I love beautiful window treatments. Specifically, I've been lusting after these for our living room:

Don't they look lovely?

So here's the hypothetical design dilemma: (hypothetical because there isn't really a budget for new curtains at the moment) How should they be hung? We have a small window seat that's about 12" deep. It's not quite deep enough to really be considered a window seat, but it's more than just a ledge.

Using the "high and wide" rule I'm thinking they should look something like this:


Whereas Mr. Fix-It thinks it will look "weird" and thinks this is the way to go:

It's kind of like the toilet paper debate. Over or under? Or, in this case, over or against?

And thank you, dear readers, for weighing in on our marital debates.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Love Contrast

Bestie Allie is picking out fixtures for her new home in Atlanta. She and her fiance went through hell to purchase a gorgeous, unfinished foreclosure. While it is still heavily under construction, it also means that they get to choose every last detail for their first home!

Yesterday, Allie was asking me about banisters. While I didn't think I had much of an opinion on the matter, my pinterest "Home Design" board suggests otherwise.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Quick Fix: How To Tie A Scarf

Have you seen this!?

As someone who wears a scarf most days, I'm obsessed! My fave is "The Waterfall". What's yours?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Currently Loving

It looks like I'm able to find several items I'm loving each month! In case you missed them, here are my first two Currently Loving posts: {one} {two} And here's what I'm loving at the moment:

1. Life Factory Water Bottle: I've steadily followed the water bottle evolution. In college I had a Nalgene, then I moved on to Sigg. I still love my Sigg for the gym, but the Life Factory is perfect for work. I love the wide mouth top, and it just plain feels cool in your hand.

2. iOS 5 update: I was probably a little excessively excited about the Apple iOS 5 update. I'm happy with it, though. The new notification system is my favorite feature.

3. Giant Diamond Studs: Go to Nordstrom. Browse their fashion jewelry. Purchase a pair of ridiculously huge studs. You'll wear them all the time. Thank me later.

4. Kindle Lighted Cover: If you have a kindle and don't use this case you're missing out. For real.

5. Yurbuds: OMG. Attach them to your iPod earbuds. THEY DON'T FALL OUT. (Don't buy them online, though. They were like $18 or $20 at a local running store.)

6. OPI You Don't Know Jacques: It's fall! Time to bust out my favorite dark nail polish!

7. Naked Green Machine: It's yummy, I promise. And it's got good stuff like broccoli in it. I've been drinking about two per week.

What are you loving right now?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quick Bathroom Refresh

I've been antsy to do something to our Master Bathroom since, forever. Mr. Fix-It has toyed with the idea of a complete overhaul, but I hesitated because I'm not convinced we'll get much of a return on investment. The reality is that a 2BR/2BA condo in Chicago can only resell for so much. Even with a fancy pants new bathroom, there are limits.

So, in an effort to refresh things, I decided it was time to paint.

I had the day off work last Friday, so I swung by Home Depot first thing in the morning.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Another Anniversary Trip: Napa & San Francisco!

I have told Mr. Fix-It for some time that I'd been dying to take a trip to Napa. I not-so-subtly hinted that it would make a perfect 30th birthday venture. Guess I need to make different plans, because I was surprised with tickets to Napa and San Francisco for our wedding anniversary! Who knew a "paper" anniversary could be so fun!?

Mr. Fix-It was the ticket buyer, I was the trip planner. I lived in San Francisco for a while in college as part of a practicum and thesis study. I absolutely fell in love with the city. I've said many times that I probably would have moved there after college if I was ready to leave Chicago. Looking back, it might have been awesome to live there for the two years I took between college and grad school.

In reality, we had two full days for our trip. We arrived on a Thursday night with enough time for one winery and dinner. Friday was a full day of wineries. Saturday was San Francisco, and Sunday we were back on a plane to Chicago. 

Friday morning we started at Kuleto Winery, owned by Restaurant Designer Pat Kuleto. It was absolutely the surprise gem of the trip.

The drive to Kuleto reminded me of the drive to my Uncle's property in Northern California. I was like a dog with my head out the window inhaling the amazing scent of Redwoods.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Post About Our Backsplash

We searched, and searched, and searched for the perfect backsplash tile. Initially we thought we'd choose a subway pattern. Then Mr. Fix-It was leaning glass. I insisted glass tile belongs only in the bathroom. Then we found marble.

Because so many of you have asked, emailed, and tweeted, here are the details on the marble tile.

Monday, October 17, 2011

October Photography Challenge (8-15)

I didn't do my October Photography Challenge post on Friday because Mr. Fix-It and I were traveling. I also cheated a little, I held off taking some of my photos because I was sure I'd get some great shots on our trip! And may I just say, Napa and San Francisco are amaaaaaazing in October. More on that later, though!

{8: a bad habit}

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hot White Coat

A while ago, Mr. Fix-It and I were watching the Devil Wears Prada (don't judge, the man likes a good rom-com). When Anne Hathaway stepped out in a white winter coat Mr. Fix-It quickly proclaimed, "that's hot!".

So the quest for a white winter coat began. Last season, I tried on about 20. None of them seemed to be "it".

Friday, October 7, 2011

October Photography Challenge (1-7)

As mentioned last week, I'm participating in a photography challenge during the month of October. You can check out the list of participants at Our Wired Lives or follow along on twitter using #octphotochallenge.

I've enjoyed the challenge so far, and it's been fun to see how other participants have interpreted the daily assignments. Some people have turned out some really creative stuff!

Here are my first 7 photos:

{1: self portrait}

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Learned How To Do My Hair on the Internet

I think the post title says it all.

I've never been one of those girls who was "bad" with hair, but I've never been particularly adventurous either. Probably because a lot of styling takes time, and in the morning I sleep until the last possible second before getting out of bed. Or, on days where I find the motivation to exercise I usually shower and need to be out the door before my hair has fully dried.  Enter the "down and straight", ponytail, or bobby pin or two.

Last time I talked about hair, I was asking for your summer hair secrets. I'll admit: I definitely ventured away from my sweaty-mess-knotted-pony look this summer. Progress!

Even better, the internet world has taught me 5 new tricks.