Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My mornings...

So recently I decided to take on another Fix-It project: My Health. The last week or so has seen an improvement in my mental state through discussions and other activities. I am off to a good start on the physical side this week, with two morning workouts under my belt. In a broader scope of being more active, I am getting up and lifting in the morning before going to work and then leaving gym clothes there so I stop by on my way home from work. My genius self has decided that the biggest opportunity for failure was in that moment between walking in the door at home and putting on clothes to go exercise. By leaving stuff at the gym for my afternoon workout, I have to go to the gym to retrieve it. The signs say any locks left overnight will be cut. As long as my brain doesn't know any different, I will use the motivation. Plus, with the gym on my way home from work, I can't walk in the house and find an excuse (like the couch) to not go.

So the reason I meant to post, although what I discussed above is worth sharing, somehow both mornings right before heading out to work, I have found a way to create a disaster. Monday, soap from the foaming soap dispenser splashed all over my shirt, and I then found a way to dump all the q-tips and dental flossing things (I don't know what they are called) into the wet sink. Then this morning...

...this happened.

That is a shot of all the granola I managed to dump on the floor when the lid to the container fell off. Why are these stupid things happening when I am feeling like I am on the right track? I never had any problem with my morning routine before.

Can't wait to see what I can manage to accomplish tomorrow morning.

Wedding Wore

Our return to wedding world was a success. We spent the last two weekends wining, dining, toasting, and dancing.

The purple dress was a hit at the swanky downtown Chicago wedding, and the navy dress worked well at the garden party reception.

I opted to leave my camera at home for the downtown wedding. I'm doing better with being camera shy, but it was the wedding of a colleague of Mr. Fix-Its so I didn't want to be some guy's weird wife who snapped photos of strangers all night. Events like that make me wish we still had a functioning point and shoot. Sadly, ours died during an incident on our honeymoon when Mr. Fix-It got a little crazy on the dance floor and knocked it out of my hand. "The rhythm is gonna getcha!" It got him.

For the second wedding, I brought my 60D. And look! I actually took pictures! Here are a few:

Here's Mr. Fix-It with the baby that caused him quite the case of baby fever about a year ago. After spending dinner with him on Thursday, we somehow found ourselves "browsing" for family friendly cars on Saturday morning. Seriously, what does this kid do to my husband?

 What events are on your calendar this summer?

Monday, June 27, 2011

One Shell Of A Wedding! : Our Last Stolen Moments

After the band had stopped playing, after the guests waved their sparkly wands and sent us on our way, after we made the long drive back to downtown Providence, we found time for just a few more photos.

Friday, June 24, 2011

One Shell Of A Wedding! : We'll Be Dancin' The Night Away

After the world's most sentimental father daughter dance, it was time to officially get the party started! We kicked off the evening with Earth, Wind, and Fire's "September". (It seemed appropriate given our September 25 wedding, wouldn't you say?) The crowd took a little while to get moving, but soon enough the dance party in full force. This was the first time in the evening I felt like letting out a deep exhale and saying, "This is it! We did it!" There was nothing left to plan, coordinate, organize, or execute. All that was left on the agenda was to LET LOOSE. It was awesome.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lighting Controls - Lazy or Cool?

There is an app for that. One thing, the Mrs. is an Apple follower, and I have a very negative reaction to anything Apple. So, the iPad commercial where they show you turning on/off your lights with a free app really drove me nuts. There is typically thousands of dollars of electronics behind that cool little free app.

Or is there....?

Mrs. Fix-It left town one weekend (last minute - granny is fine), which left Mr. Fix-It with a little free time on his hands. Leaving me home alone on a weekend with access to my credit card never paid off well. This time, I hoped to change that. I had my sights set on resolving a problem - that really was not a problem - but more of a convenience. When sitting on the couch, the switch for the down lights is not that far away, but requires your butt to leave the sofa. There is an app for that. Well for me, not really. My Logitech Harmony 890 remote has the ability to control Z-Wave devices. So, I went to work solving my big problem.

I hopped on Amazon Thursday afternoon and searched Z-Wave devices. I found the GE product line of Z-wave. I never played with Z-Wave before so I had no idea what was required to make it work. I found a basic dimming wall switch, shown below. It was $38 with free Prime shipping, so I ordered it. Typically a quality dimmer will cost maybe $20, so this was a little bit of a premium, but in theory it was supposed to be able to be controlled by my remote. Cool! The world of Amazon amazed me again and when I got home Friday after work, it was sitting outside my door already.

The little light on the bottom glows that cool hi-tech blue when the lights are off. So, I took the little box inside opened it up and found the dimmer as expected. Not much to it, and I have no idea how to make this post sound as excited as I was. I pulled out my screwdriver, actually turned the power off, and took the old dimmer out. Few minutes later, the new dimmer was in. Flipped the power on and it worked. At least the manual, get off the couch, method of physically touching the switch. It had some cool features, like when you press the button to turn on, the lights return to the previous setting. This is a great energy feature which I plan on posting energy related lighting discussions later.

Programming time. I went to the very easy to use application for configuring my harmony remote and added in my new Z-Wave device. There was a little work in adding the device and updating the remote and then pairing the two devices. From there, Harmony set up the rest. At that point, the remote worked. I found the device on the remote and turned on, off, and dimmed my lights. I sat down on the couch and tried it again, pinched myself, then tried it one more time. So, for $38 I got my cool toy and my weekend project was done by 6:45pm Friday evening.

So what does this have to do with the iPad app comment? Well, there are other Z-Wave devices available also. There are dimmer modules you can plug into an outlet to control a corded lamp. You can replace your outlets with Z-wave outlets (these typically don't dim). There are also controllers available to setup scenes and work with other Z-Wave devices like thermostats, power meters, and remote door locks. The controller is the device you need to get the app on your smart phone or tablet device. I noticed these controllers were priced in the $300 range. So, with that and a number of other Z-wave devices, you can easily get into home automation. I just have my one $38 switch, so I have a long way to go for that fully automated condo, but I plan on expanding as I can. Right now, I am still a little giddy about my stupid remote controlled lights.

It would appear that a full lighting control system as shown on the commercial will still cost at least $500 to get setup to control with you phone. What should I get next?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Would if you Could? The Chinese Birth Chart

If you could choose your baby's sex, would you?

I believe, that in a moment of honesty, parents have a slight preference. After having one child, a lot of parents hope for the opposite. Or, after seeing you brother wrestle his difficult son to the ground in a moment of tantrum you envision a girl being easier. You have a close bond with a parent, and want the same for yourself. We all have our reasons.

About a year ago I came across the Chinese Birth Chart. I tend not to put much stock in things like this, but I've heard people swear by it. They plan their familes around it.

Last week, one of my best friends went to her Ob/Gyn to find out the sex of her baby. All along, I was convinced she was having a girl. Then, the morning of her appointment (while in the shower) I remembered the Chinese Birth Chart. Still dripping wet, I googled the birth chart and saw that she was predicted to have a boy. I texted her immediately and said that I doubted my original guess.

Guess what? I'm now going to be an "auntie" to a little boy. It was right!

Funny coincidence? Or does this thing actually work? Did the Chinese Birth Chart work for you? I'm curious!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wedding Wear

It's wedding season!

A funny thing happens after you get married, or at least it did to me. Once my wedding was over, I felt like all weddings were over. Not in an ego-centric way necessarily, it just felt like that phase of my life had passed. Mr. Fix-It was one of the last of his friends to get married, and my friend circle is pretty scattered - some married friends, few engaged friends, and a number of single friends. Really, aside from bestie Allie's wedding this New Year's Eve I haven't had weddings on my radar much lately.

Maybe I should give you some more context: since Mr. Fix-It and I met, we have been to at least 15 weddings together. That seems like a lot, at least to us, but since our own wedding we've only been to 1. But alas, wedding season has returned. The next two back-to-back Saturdays we will be attending weddings.

Why do I mention this? Clothing, naturally. Here are my 3 options:




One wedding is at a swanky Downtown Chicago hotel, so I'm leaning dress 1. The other (from what I've heard) is more of a garden party, so I'm thinking dress 3. Dress 2 could work for either event. Any thoughts?

And yes, I'll properly do my hair and make-up for both events.

(While taking these photos Mr. Fix-It declared, "My god! Now I know why you're not a model!" Thanks honey, love you too.)

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Lately, I have totally been on fire. You name it, I'm getting it done. Hitting the gym? Hard. Eating well? Heck yes. Productivity? Bring on the check lists. And the best part is, I feel awesome. My energy is so high I'm literally buzzing around our condo at night, undoubtedly freaking Mr. Fix-It out.

So, what's up with me? Well, I've been in a massive slump for quite some time. I've felt like crap physically and took no responsibility for it. Moreso, I've felt stuck career-wise and lost sight of the bigger picture. But then, a few weeks ago, I did an intervention with a client that I really had needed to do with myself.

Want to try?

Close your eyes. Relax your body and get comfortable. Picture yourself in the future. Create a mental image of your ideal day. Not a day that you are on vacation, or laying on a beach, but an ordinary day in your ideal life. It is a realistic amount of time away from now. It can be months from now or years away - however long it will take you to get to that ideal point. Perhaps you are picturing a house full of children, maybe your vision includes a career shift, you are living in a different city, or you have simply lost five pounds. Whatever the goals, picture yourself there.

Now, wake up in your ideal day. Who are you laying next to? Where are you? What do you do next - go to the gym? grab coffee with a friend? dress children? commute? What are you wearing? How do you look? Where does your day take you? Walk through the moments.

Get specific. How do you feel? How does your life feel?

 Engross yourself in the experience of your ideal day, your ideal life. Hold on to this imagery. Return to it whenever you lose your motivation or sense of purpose. It is powerful, it is exactly what you're working toward.

For me, this vision exercise is exactly what I need when I find myself slipping toward a slump. Sometimes I get lost. Sometimes I forget how great things can look and feel if I let my mind embrace the possibility of what will be. Looking and feeling good are big pieces of that picture for me, and I'm excited to share the professional components I've started to put into place as well.

How do you de-slump?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Shell Of A Wedding! : Time After Time

I've held off on writing this post because I've thought a lot about capturing this part of our wedding day perfectly. Then I realized that it's already all here - in photos and video - and that my words are superfluous. But that's not entirely true. There's a reason we write words with recaps, after all.

Two days before our wedding I wrote a post titled "Time After Time". It was about what the song Time After Time meant to me and my Dad. It was something I had felt all my life, but never put into words. When the post went live on Weddingbee I e-mailed it to him (I was retrieving bridesmaids from the airport) and by the time I made it home I found my Dad and my Mom crying by their computer screens.

Then, in December Weddingbee ran a "Best of the Bee" series of Bees' favorite posts. I chose "Time After Time" and mentioned that there was an additional story that I'd share during my recaps. So...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

House Tour!

Some of you super savvy blog readers may have noticed I recently added a new tab across the top header titled "House Tour". As of today it is officially complete! Click on over to take a peek at some never before seen home photos.

Like this...

Or this...

I'll definitely keep updating it as things shift and change around here!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Post!

I wrote a guest post on Katie's blog "She Likes Ruffles, He Likes Truffles" today! Click on over to read about Design Shifts - how our sense of decorating style has evolved over time. Plus, you'll get to see some photos of my very first apartment - back when I was fresh out of college.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Happenings via iPhone Pics

Lately on my iPhone:

1. In my effort to have cute summer hair, I purchased this thing. Seems to work.
2. I promised myself that I will get outside and walk every day. Last summer I was pale, and felt like I didn't know what season it was because I was in an office all the time. I now keep a pair of fitflops in my desk.

Middle Row:
We spent this past weekend with our friend's dog, Bonkers. She literally is bonkers and we have a wonderful time with a rent-a-dog for a weekend here and there.

1. I loooove summer style and I love the nautical vibe this season.
2. I worked outside from Starbucks today. Let's ignore the fact that I look angry and slightly constipated. I was in heaven.

Speaking of iPhones, is anyone else seriously jazzed for the iOS 5 update? It looks awesome!

P.S. Stripes really are my favorite thing this season.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

No Sew Curtains

Junior High HomeEc went well enough for me. I got an A - which was my only priority - but I can't say I walked away with any actual skills. I can't sew, and I really only learned to cook within the past year. Not that I blame Junior High, they did the best they could.

The part that drives me batty is the math. I feel somewhat ridiculous saying this, but I find that numbers fail me. A perfect example is when I hung the fabric frames in our living room. I did the math the ensure that they would all be perfectly even. But somehow, once the nail was in the wall, they were off by an inch or two. This is why I save myself the time and just eyeball things. This greatly annoys Mr. Fix-It - he says I'm cheating and cutting corners. I say it's saving both of us from the aftermath of a hammer being flung across the room. (It's pathetic, really, my patience is ZERO when things don't make sense.)

So,  when I came across a post about  No Sew curtains recently and I knew they were for me. No sewing, no threading needles. But, yes, some math and measuring.

 {source for above images}

 Simple enough, right? I'll let you know how it goes.

I actually don't want to make curtains. Well, I do, some day. Right now, I want to make a new shower curtain. It seems like a really feasible project and I already have a template - you know, an existing shower curtain. (That gets a big plus on the measurement front.)

I bought a really loud, fun, pink and green floral shower curtain from Pottery Barn for my first apartment out of college. I looooooved it. It was bold and awesome.

For $75 I considered it a splurge, but I loved it that much. It's been around for seven years, and it lived a good life. Looking back it definitely worked best in small-space bathrooms. It gives a perfect burst of color. Unfortunately, in our current master bath it's just a little off. Something about the scale and the colors and the fact that I've looked at it for seven years. It's time for a break. Anyone want it? Seriously.

Not too long ago I picked up this guy at World Market:

I'm really into the gray, but I'm just not sold on the overall look. (Frankly, the whole master bath needs an overhaul, but I'm not convinced we'll get a sufficient return on investment when resell our condo.) So for now I'll stick with the shower curtain. That leads me to my next question...

What's your favorite place to buy fabrics?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Hair Secrets

...I'm asking for yours because I have none.

Either I get hotter and sweatier than the general population, or I'm missing something about styling hair for the summer. Basically, I opt for a knotted pony. All the time. It keeps my hair off my neck (pro) but results in frizzy fly aways (con). It by no means looks polished or pretty and I'm really antsy to discover some new styling options.

I searched for a few inspiration pics on Pinterest and came up wtih these:

How do you style your hair in the summer?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Goldilocks of Blogs

I posted on Monday evening that we'd updated our blog. Then less than 24 hours later we opted for an even more substantial overhaul. It's not that I couldn't make up my mind, I simply hadn't found the design that was juuuuuuust right.

I love watching things evolve over time, so here's a little journey in our blog's history.

This is our original design. I contacted Joy with a few ideas and a concept for our "post-wedding" blog. In the midst of down-to-the-wire wedding planning I decided it was a good idea to get started on a new project. Even though she completed it in August 2010, it didn't really launch until October 2010.

August 2010

Sometime in February I decided I wanted a bolder background. Plus, I was really into different prints, especially clover patterns. I sent joy an inspiration pic (of bedding, actually) and she drew in a new background.

February 2011

Then, a few weeks ago I toyed with the idea of switching the blue to a different shade - a Tiffany blue. I also wanted the corners un-rounded and the header to open up a bit. This update lasted all of a day, though I know Joy had worked on it for some time. It wasn't because I didn't like it - I was actually really happy with the color switch. But something about it felt too "light" for me. Too feminine? Too many clovers? I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

May 2011

Then, a day after the updates went live, I found myself still searching for inspiration. You know when you're on to something but just not quite there yet? I saw this pattern on the interwebs and was imediately curious if it would work. I super-imposed The Fix-Its on to the pattern to get a sense of what it would look like. ...and SOLD!

June 2011

And here we are today. I LOVE the amount of contrast and the wood background seems appropriate for people who claim to be "The Fix-Its". Plus, it's got a bit of a masculine feel that the previous formats lacked.

What do you think? I'd say this Goldilocks finally found her perfect blog.