Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Hanukkah!

For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day!  It won’t happen again for 70,000 years 🙂

Brett and I hope that you have a lovely day, filled with family and friends and lots of good food 🙂


And I’ll leave you with this 🙂

Girly Wednesday ~ xxxiii ~ Mom’s wedding dress

Brett and I weren’t blogging as consistently when this website was our wedding website.  We mainly used it as a platform to communicate valuable information about our big day 🙂  Well the time has come to slowly fill all who are interested in on some of the behind the scenes facts about our big day 🙂  Did you know, for instance, that my wedding dress was actually my mom’s? 🙂

When Mom wore it…


and when I wore it…

2012 July 7 Justine Bursoni Photography Mallory and Brett's Wedding in Champaign Illinois FOR WEB ONLY-237

In between I spent a lot of time with my friend Cathy Moe and a wonderful seamstress/dressmaker extraordinaire, Tina.  She helped to transform and modernize my mom’s dress so that it was perfect for my occasion too.  My mom was really excited that I was going to wear her dress and said that I could restyle it however I wanted 🙂

The original dress was long sleeved (with belled out areas near the wrists) and zipped all the way up the back to the base of the neck.  It was decorated with lace and was a beautiful white color.  Time turned that beautiful white into a gorgeous ivory.  The only thing that I couldn’t wear from my mom’s big day was her veil…which for some reason didn’t change color at all 🙂  Tina removed those long, belled sleeves of the dress first, which really transformed the look.  We opened up the back and used the lace from the sleeves to decorate the new neckline of the dress.

2012 April 20 Justine Bursoni Photography Mallory Bridal Session-5

The dress was bustled at the same place it always had been though the mechanisms involved were new.

2012 July 7 Justine Bursoni Photography Mallory and Brett's Wedding in Champaign Illinois FOR WEB ONLY-76

My mom’s rings were also featured in my wedding bouquet.  🙂

2012 July 7 Justine Bursoni Photography Mallory and Brett's Wedding in Champaign Illinois FOR WEB ONLY-21

2012 July 7 Justine Bursoni Photography Mallory and Brett's Wedding in Champaign Illinois FOR WEB ONLY-242

To see more pictures from our ceremony, click here!  Did you consider wearing your mother’s dress for your wedding?  (Or your grandmother’s for that matter?)  🙂

Apple Crisp…from a container!

Soooo, most of the desserts and yummy things that we share with you all are made from scratch…I guess I find that if I make it from scratch it takes way more time and I can consider the activity as a hobby 🙂

…but sometimes you just have to use what is available!  🙂

Have you seen these in the grocery store?  My mom used to always have one of these in the pantry in the fall 🙂


I did exactly what the instructions said….cored and peeled 4-5 apples, thinly sliced them, and placed into a 9×9 dish.


The mix found within the container is then cut into about a half stick of butter and spread on top of the apple slices.


Bake, serve, and voila!  🙂  YUM!


Do you have any easy baking favorites that you enjoy in the fall?


reinventing the sack lunch

In an effort to save money over the past year or so, Brett and I have made a tremendous effort to not eat out.  🙂  While the occasional lunch or dinner out is definitely allowed, we have really focused on trying to pack a lunch almost every day and cook at home in the evenings.  Packing a sack lunch each day can get pretty monotonous though.  There are only so many times when I can make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich day in and day out.  🙂  So we’ve started reinventing the simple, sack lunch!

Just the other day, I took some goat cheese


spread it on toast, and layered with some peach preserves.  YUM!


Add some veggies on the side, maybe some yogurt and fruit, and you’ve made yourself a reinvented sack lunch 🙂

Do you have any tips for packing more interesting lunches??  🙂  We are always looking for new things to try!



a cancer survivor rant of sass: on survivorship

There are actually a few things that I could rant about as a cancer survivor.  There are the usual, Why did this happen to me? kind of thing.  There is definitely the much deserved rant about what things people say to someone with cancer.  (I talked a little bit about that here).

First of all though, to get the actual rant started, I hate the words survivor and battle when talking about cancer.  The unfortunate truth of the word survivor, is that it implies such a harrowing feat for those of us here and the narrow alternative for those of us who are no longer.  I also hate the phrase, so-and-so lost their battle.  Really?!  Because I’m sure that that person’s friends and family still see the battle as an every day occurrence…not something lost.  Definitely not something that is done, finito, fini.  The same connotation is used with survivorship.  That is the root of this rant…the idea that being a survivor also means that the battle is over.

Cancer builds a context into a “survivor’s” life  (and into the life of a caregiver for that matter).  Cancer taints future events in ways that result in both negative and positive outcomes.  We have all heard of people living life to the fullest after experiencing life changing events like cancer.  Some of the things we hear a lot less of though are the negative aspects.  I do not mean this to be a moment where I now tell you each thing that I have experienced as a negative to being a cancer survivor….I only want to outline the key of survivorship that I have found to be so often overlooked by the bystanders.  Survivorship is the process of surviving.

The context that cancer creates cannot be erased, forgotten, pushed through, sucked up, or ignored.  Though others in the cancer survivor’s life may completely forget about the day of diagnosis, the months of chemo, and the feelings of isolation, anxiety, and hurt, the cancer survivor is not afforded this luxury.  Others may choose to forget the new context of the cancer survivor’s life but the survivor does not have that choice.  The survivor must now go through the process of surviving…

where things once easy may now seem difficult,

where once there was a clear and photographic memory now there may be a foggy and sluggish feeling for years,

where some people refuse to admit that you may not be back to 100% yet,

where people ignore what happened as if it is now over.

This is survivorship….not just being clear of cancer.  To the survivors (both patients and caregivers) out there….cancer did happen.  It is real and it makes sense to me that you are still feeling the effects of the battle.  It makes sense to me that you may not be back to 100% and that your brain may still feel a bit slower than before.  Cancer changes everything…so how can one expect to be the same as before?  More importantly, why should one be made to feel as if they need to be the same as before?


Image via http://www.ttuhsc.edu