Girly Wednesday ~ x ~ a gold tipped manicure

I really enjoy having painted nails and, as I’ve mentioned before, its so easy to do them yourself that I rarely spend the money on an actual manicure.  For that reason I’m always on the look out for fun, new, and easy things to try with my nails 🙂  I tried a new manicure technique recently!  I used a normal, gold sharpie to draw on the tips of my ‘french’ style manicure.  🙂  I found the motivation behind the style here but their techniques didn’t work very well (as the numerous comments on their post show).  The gold color had a bad habit of smearing when the top coat was applied.  This post by a different blog helps clear up the issue of the gold color smearing.  The technique is really really simple though so here goes!

I painted on 2 coats of a really pale, pink color.


After the color completely dried, I carefully drew on the gold tips to the finger nails


After letting the gold marker dry for a few minutes, I sprayed a quick coat of hair spray on the nails, keeping the hair spray bottle far away from the nails so that the layer wasn’t too thick.  After that dried, I carefully painted on a coat of a UV top coat and voila!


What do you all think?  I think the idea is very clever and I’m excited to try it with the silver sharpie that I have as well.  The gold color is not as crisp with the marker as it would be if I had painted it on with a gold colored nail polish though.  I’m also not sold on the light nail color and dark nail tips look yet…but I’m open to comments and suggestions!  🙂


The Name Change Game

Since I’ve had many people ask…the answer is yes, I have kept my maiden name.

Disclaimer:  In this post I answer some frequently asked questions describing why I have chosen to keep my maiden name.  This does NOT mean, under any circumstances, that I think this is the best decision for everyone or that I am using this to somehow judge all of those women who have changed their last names once they were married.  I think that your last name is a very personal decision, one not to be taken lightly no matter which option you choose.  While I have chosen to keep my maiden name, many of the women in my life chose to change theirs.  🙂

I have had many questions regarding my decision to keep my maiden name so I thought I’d post about it 🙂  A blog that I enjoy reading did a whole series on this name game, about spouses changing (or not changing) their names, if you’re interested in how others have also made this decision.  A friend of a friend described her reasons for taking her husband’s last name here.  These have been my frequently asked questions:

FAQ 1:  You’re married but you’ve kept your own maiden name…why? (usually this one is followed up with a strange, and very confused, look)

    Answer 1:  I like my last name.  This might sound silly but I’ve had it my entire life and it makes me feel strongly rooted to the family that I grew up in.  I kind of like being Mrs. Casperson, just like my mom.

    Answer 2:  I don’t think that keeping my last name diminishes my connection with Brett in any way so, why bother?

    Answer 3:  I am a published reseacher and I’d rather not change the name under which I have published papers.

FAQ 2:  Did your mom change her last name?

    Answer:  Yep.  She changed her last name when she married my dad.

FAQ 3:  What do your parents think about you not changing your name?

    Answer:  It doesn’t bother them at all.  My mother’s sister never changed her name when she married and, while my mother did change her name, my decision didn’t bother either her or my dad.

FAQ 4:  What does your mother-in-law think of you not taking her son’s last name?

    Answer:  My mother-in-law kept her own maiden name 🙂

FAQ 5:  But your kids won’t have your last name!  Won’t that be weird?

    Answer:  My mother-in-law has stories of when having a different last name from her children was a challenge.  This was mainly due to how society viewed a woman not having the same last name as her children though.  As more and more people decide not to change their name I think that these challenges will be lessened.  I guess it may feel strange sometimes to have a different last name than my children, but that doesn’t make us less of a family.  Brett and I even agreed that the dogs could always have my last name 🙂

FAQ 6:  What about creating a family, united under a single name, trusting forever in your commitment to one another?

    Answer:  I appreciate this opinion that a family must be united under a single name, taking the name change as a mark of faith and commitment…it’s just not the way I want to mark my faith and commitment towards my own family.  Brett and I came into this relationship as two individuals with flaws and strengths.  We exist as a married couple each day, as individuals with flaws and strengths who work very hard to also have a happy and fulfilling union.  For me, keeping my own last name was important.

Saturday morning – donuts, pups, and the Urbana Farmers Market!

The farmers market has opened for the season here in Chambana!  Brett and I love going and just walking around the various stalls of produce and flowers and handmade goods.  Before heading to the farmers market, a typical Saturday when we have a bit of time to ourselves (this isn’t always the case with a busy research/school schedule) often starts with one of us going to pick up donuts while the coffee is brewing (usually this is Brett 🙂 ).  We go to this small donut shop in Champaign where the woman there refuses to put your donuts in anything but a bag so you have to specifically ask that she arrange them so that half of the icing of one donut isn’t dragged off by either the bag or its neighbor (but they have the best donuts in town!).

blog_saturdayMorningDonut and coffee drinking time usually also turns into some time for quality snuggles…


along with some quality tail wagging (and barking) at people passing by the house…


We then head to the farmers market!  One of our favorite places is this stand where they sell the goat and sheep cheese from a local farm.

blog_farmersMarketWe bought the Black Sheep cheese this past Saturday.  This stand also sells goat cheese gelato!  We don’t buy a full grocery store trip worth of food at the market but getting to meet the people responsible for the animals and produce is always fun.  This particular stand even offers tours of the Praire Fruits Farm, complete with all of their goats and sheep.  🙂

There are also homemade goods at the farmer’s market.  This gentleman makes handmade cigar box guitars and sells them here in Urbana.  We actually got one for Lucas’s graduation present they looked so cool!  The finished product has the company’s insignia along with some special, personalized touches for Lucas, and is ready to plug into an amp and jam!  Brett tested Lucas’s out, just in case, before we gave it to him 😉





The instruments play and have a really fun sound to them.  🙂  Such wonderful surprises found at the farmers market and such a wonderful addition to any Saturday morning!

Do you have any Saturday morning rituals or traditions?  🙂



Chicago Marathon 2012…heading towards Chicago Marathon 2013!

Brett and I have officially registered for the Chicago Marathon this October, 2013.  Since I never shared the experience that we had last October running the marathon, I thought now was as good a time as any!

After many months of training with the pups, we were ready to pack up and drive to Chicago for the marathon!


In Champaign, we prepared our required race day essentials and put everything we’d need in/on our running belts



Some of our techniques worked better than others.  For instance, I now know that cutting up power bars into strips and putting them into empty water bottles makes for almost impossible to retrieve snacks during the race 🙂  We then drove to Chicago and picked up our race packets.  I’ll have to share pictures of this year’s expo with you in October because the event is HUGE.  Anyway, we picked up our packets and headed to Brett’s childhood home where we readied our clothes for the race.

IMG_0888Then it was time for bed.  At 4 am the alarm clock went off.  We took care of the pups, got dressed, and headed downtown.  It was still very dark outside.  When we got to the parking garage designated for the runners we realized that we were slightly ahead of schedule so we posed for a photo op.  We looked like this…


but we felt like this…  🙂


Then we headed to the American Brain Tumor Association’s team tent.


I took a photo with the team


and we all headed to the start line


It was awfully cold still!  Brett and I bought cheap sweats at Target to put on over our running clothes before the race.  An organization picks up the clothes deposited by runners before the race and donates them to homeless people.  🙂


We had to wait about 45 minutes for the race to start…along with 40,000 of our closest friends 🙂



During the race we took some funny videos 🙂  This one (IMG_0904) is us entertaining ourselves while waiting for the race to start and surrounded by thousands of runners.

You can see other ones IMG_0905, and IMG_0906, and IMG_0907

This is what the end of the race looks like



We had a great time running the race and are hopeful that we’ll stay even more on top of our training for the 2013 event!  🙂  If you would like to donate to either of our marathons, we are each running for charities that are near and dear to our hearts.  I am running for the American Brain Tumor Association in memory of my mother and for those patients, caregivers, and families living with this disease.  Brett is running for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of his father and for what we went through.  Each of these charities do wonderful, wonderful things.  Please consider donating 🙂

This is the link to my fundraising page and this is the link to Brett’s fundraising page

Thank you!

Love, Mallory & Brett







Girly Wednesday ~ ix

For a dinner date with Brett recently, I tried a new hairstyle:  the twisted chignon.  The Sidewalk Ready blog gives a great tutorial here.  Anyone who has looked recently at popular wedding hairstyles has probably run across many versions of this hair style.  The twisted version though is super easy and looks super complicated…ok, maybe super complicated is an over exaggeration but it definitely looks harder to style than it is 😉  The hair style took me about 7 minutes once my hair was dried 🙂

First, put your hair into a ponytail near the nape of your neck.  Pull the hair rubber band out from your head a little bit (try to use a hair rubber band that is similar to your hair color…or clear if you are blond) and turn the pony tail inside out




Pull the inside out pony tail to tighten.  Then loop the hair hanging from the pony tail underneath, and back under the twisted area.  Pin in place with bobby pins, being careful to keep all bobby pins hidden.


Pull carefully to tighten your new, pinned loop of hair


Pull the sides of the loop over and pin in place so that someone standing next to you can’t look through the loop that you created. blog_chignon8

Spray with a bit of hairspray and you’re done!



What are your favorite hair styles for nights out?  🙂  Are there any other chignon styles that you like?