Springtime Swag

I’m not sure what it is about the arrival of Spring, but it always makes me want to overhaul my closet and revamp my wardrobe. Perhaps it is something about all the new floral dresses and open toed sandals that is alluring.  I wish I could get my hands on every item that I see online, but my bank account would immediately be empty if that were the case. I’m going to refrain from doing a huge Spring shopping spree, but I did allow myself to buy a couple of things for the upcoming season.

New Stuff
1. Polka Dot Dress  When I saw this dress I knew it had to be mine.  I almost bought a dress similar to this online earlier in the year, only it was peach. I kicked myself when it became unavailable while still in my “shopping cart”.  I can’t wait to wear this when the weather starts to heat up! I’m always a sucker for polka dots and turquoise.
2. Chevron Lamp Shade I found this at Target for $13! I think it will be a fun addition to my living room decor.
3.  Like Crazy DVD I can’t wait to pop this in the DVD player this weekend.  It will be the perfect way to unwind after what I know will be a stressful weekend of apartment searching…
4. Nude Patent Wedges These are ladylike and comfy–a great combination in a shoe.  I’m eager to pair these with springy floral dresses and cropped pants. Plus, they were a steal at only $19.99! I got them in black, too.

Love for the Little Apple

As a child, the idea of sitting in a car for hours on end with my backpack full of snacks, reading material and my Discman playing Celine Dion on repeat was exciting to say the least. If you prompted me with the same notion now, I might not be as enthused.  However, looking back on all of the many road trips my family took together whether it be the grueling 14 hour drive to North Dakota or the countless vacations to Colorado in the summers, I always created some terrific memories. There is something so special about hopping in a car and driving to a new city to discover what it has to offer.  Sure, our family would always do the “touristy” thing and hit up all of the main attractions, but it was even more thrilling to uncover hidden gems like a hole in the wall burger joint, a cave tucked into the trees of a forest or an abandoned ghost town in the middle of nowhere.

Although it wasn’t a far away destination like Chicago or Minnesota (my family went there, too), traveling to my parents’ old stomping grounds of Manhattan, KS as a child was somehow just as exciting.  My Mom and Dad met at Kansas State University in 1972 and the Little Apple has had a place in their hearts and mine, ever since.  Growing up, I can recall countless occasions of my family of six loading into our mini van for road trips to the same place I now call home.

I grew up in a house full of Wildcats and ever since we were little all of us kids knew that we would end up at K-State for college, since going to KU was not even an option in our household.  When we visited Manhattan I always envisioned myself as a “cool college student” walking around campus decked out in K-State gear and living in the dorms. Flash forward ten years later and I made that same dream a reality. I spent four years at K-State earning my degree and making fantastic friends and memories along the way.  I am so thankful for such a great college career and often find myself yearning to go back–for the sheer fact that I sincerely enjoy learning and miss being around a sea of people my same age.

I now have a totally different perspective of this college town since graduating nearly two years ago.  Instead of being in the hub of campus life and focusing on my academics (and fun) as a college student, I am now a “young professional” and have to be more creative about finding extra curricular activities.  I used to question my parents’ desire to move to Manhattan after retirement, thinking there “wouldn’t be anything to do” for the older crowd aside from K-State sports. (Side note:  my mom is obsessed with K-State football and basketball). However, now I realize that the city of Manhattan has so much to offer for families, retired couples and young people alike.  The Little Apple is truly a wonderful place to live for all ages and offers many of its own “little hidden gems” for people to discover. Although I don’t see myself living here for that much longer, (let’s face it–I’m more of a city girl), I’ve enjoyed my time here the past six years and will always cherish the memories I have made while being a resident of Manhattan.

Love for the Little Apple

1. Unique Restaurants

When it comes to food I pretty much like anything and everything. However, three restaurants (in no particular order) are at the top of my list for places to hit up when eating out. The first is The Chef, which is a breakfast cafe in downtown Manhattan.  It was around when my parents went to school here, but just recently reopened.  The Chef has THE BEST biscuits and gravy I have ever had in my life and other delicious breakfast items like the McGyver–a menu item that lets you “build your own pancakes.”  If you are looking for a great place to have brunch, I highly recommend the Chef–but be prepared to wait in line for awhile! Coco Bolos is a Mexican restaurant on the outside of Aggieville with “Spicy Music and Loud Food.”  My favorite dishes are the Tijuana Trainwreck  and the Baja Chicken and Shrimp Wrap.  Added bonus: $5 carafes of sangria on Wednesdays!  Coco Bolos is a fun place to go if you want Mexican food with a twist.  Finally, my third favorite restaurant is So Long Saloon–home of the “Nancy” which is a beer mixed with pineapple juice. In my opinion, So Long Saloon has the best burgers and fries in Manhattan. I always take my friends from out of town to this joint whenever they come to visit for the first time. Another unique menu item they have is the “Black Bean Raspberry Chipotle Dip,” which is to die for.  The best part of all three of these eateries is their unique and welcoming atmosphere which makes the dining experience that much more enjoyable.

2. Castles

Manhattan, Kansas might not be the first geographical region that comes to mind when you hear the word “castles,” but there are actually several of these majestic buildings right in our little town. Pictured above is Nichols Hall on K-State’s campus, which celebrated its 100th birthday last year.  It was originally the home of K-State Athletics before Ahearn Fieldhouse was built, and had a gymnasium and two swimming pools in the basement. Subsequently, when collegiate athletics were moved to Ahearn, the music department moved into Nichols and stored their instruments and sheet music in the building.  When a fire broke out in 1968, the entire building went up in flames destroying all of the instruments and sheet music inside.  Coincidentally, the band director had the sheet music for “Wabash Cannonball” in his briefcase, making it the only song the band could perform.  Now the Wabash Cannonball is perhaps one of the most recognized fight songs played at all K-State games. Nichols is near and dear to my heart because it houses the department of Communication Studies, which was my undergrad major.  Sitting inside a castle for classes makes learning even more fun!

K-State’s main library on Campus, “Hale Library,” houses a magical room called the “Great Room” which is often referred to as the “Harry Potter Room” by students.  Yes, it is indeed reminiscent of the dining hall in Hogwarts, which makes it a pleasant environment to study for finals.

Aside from buildings on K-State’s campus, Manhattan also has a residential home that was erected to look like a castle both on its exterior and interior.  “Kimble Castle” was built in 1894 and is composed of thick limestone walls and even has several turrets.  A rod iron fence encloses the yard around the castle and is tucked off the street of Poyntz Ave.  On the inside of the house, the owners decorated it to look just like a real castle including a suit of armor with a sword, stained glass windows, and original oak floors and fire places.  To see more photos and a virtual tour of this enchanting building, check out this website.

3. Other Attractions

Manhattan has one of the prettiest natural resources in the state of Kansas: The Konza Prairie, which is used for research for prairie ecosystems.  Its vast rolling prairies, tall oak trees and views of limestone walls embedded into the walls of this hills makes this landmark truly breathtaking.  It has several hiking trails and if you’re lucky, you might spot some cute wildlife creatures! It’s a great spot set off the beaten path to just go relax and take in the beautiful nature the Flint Hills have to offer.

St. Patrick’s Day has become quite the attraction in our little college town over the last decade. Because the actual holiday of St. Patrick’s day usually falls during the University’s Spring Break, the students have created their own holiday called “Fake Patty’s Day,” which takes place the weekend before the 17th.  This event covers all of Aggieville and people participating in what is essentially an all day booze fest start as early as 7:00 in the morning.  Area bars open their doors to a sea of people decked out in green and serve green beer throughout the entire day.  It can get a little bit crazy, so steer clear of Aggieville if this isn’t your scene.  If you would still enjoy celebrating this Irish holiday, the city of Manhattan puts on a family friendly event during the weekend of St. Patrick’s Day in Aggieville with a green eggs and ham breakfast, at 2 mile fun/run and 10k race and even a parade!!

Located in the nearby town of Wamego, KS the Oz Museum is a destination any Kansan or Wizard of Oz shouldn’t miss!  I grew up as an avid Wizard of Oz and Judy Garland fan and the film is one of my all time favorites. It is perhaps one of the most well-known and beloved films to date and I am proud to be associated with it as a native Kansan : )  Unfortunately, this is where my tale gets a bit twisted…  I shamefully admit that I have never actually been to the Oz Museum.  I have been inside the main doors to hang up a flyer for a work event, but have not seen the artifacts and memorabilia inside the museum. I hear that the museum boasts an arsenal of original pieces from Frank L. Baum’s book turned movie, including a fabric swatch from Dorothy Gale’s dress worn by Judy Garland, an original set of lines and scenes and 1 of 4 remaining rubber flying monkeys used for filming.  I would absolutely love to go to the Oz Museum and honestly do not have a reasonable excuse as to why I haven’t been before.

Although I didn’t capture nearly half of the unique attractions and traits about Manhattan such as the Wiener Dog Races, Johnny Kaw and the fact that K-State Alum and Modern Family star, loves his Alma Mater, the above reasons help solidify the fact that “Manhappiness” is a unique and wonderful place to live. If you ever find yourself in the Flint Hills region or are looking to take a little road trip, consider visiting Manhattan. Who knows, you could stumble upon your own hidden gem in the Little Apple!

Currently Craving

Spring Cravings

Spring Cravings by shannonpaiges featuring chunky necklaces

 

With beautiful weather like we had yesterday–nearly 70 degrees, I can’t help but have Spring fashion on my mind. Unfortunately, I’ll be donning my boots and coats for a few weeks longer, but it’s always nice to “virtual shop” for spring clothes to wear later.  I already bought the red dress from Forever 21 last night and am hopeful that it will fit! Nine times out of ten, clothing from Forever 21 is either way too short or way too cheaply made, so fingers crossed!

Other items I would really love adding to my closet?? –the pink J.Crew blouse, yellow polka dotted undies from Madewell and the Sam Edelman leopard print sandals. Wishful thinking : )

Modern Day Audrey

One of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies, aside from “Sabrina” of course, is the 1953 film “Roman Holiday.”  This film follows Audrey Hepburn’s character, Ann, who just so happens to be a princess.  When Ann and her royal family arrive in Rome, she is immediately filled with boredom and yearns to see Rome for herself, unaccompanied. Escaping her strict regimen, Ann sneaks out to explore the Eternal City. She hitches a ride in the back of a delivery truck and later falls asleep on a park bench when the after effects of a sedative she took earlier in the night finally set in. Gregory Peck’s character, Joe Bradley, who is an American journalist, finds the sleeping princess and takes her back to his apartment so she can rest peacefully.  (This sounds like a legitimate kidnapping, but I promise Joe’s intentions are harmless : )

The next morning Joe rushes off to cover the Princess Ann press conference, but doesn’t realize she is actually asleep on his couch. The film continues to show the growing relationship between Joe and Ann and how the secrets of their identities unfold as they traipse around Rome. It’s a pretty sweet little love story.

Above you will see my take on the “Modern Day Audrey” in Roman Holiday.  A beautiful minty green top with a bow tie front compliments this caramel, pleated chiffon midi skirt perfectly. (It sounds like I am writing about food, not fashion!) I think this ensemble has  just the right amount of “flowiness” for a ride around Rome on the back of a Vespa, a la Audrey & Joe  in Roman Holiday. Nothing says a vacation in a romantic city like your skirt blowing in the wind, right??  And of course when traveling by foot, a sturdy pair of gladiator sandals are appropriate, such as this braided pair.  In true Audrey fashion, one must wear a stylish scarf, but perhaps instead of tying this pretty paisley one around your neck, try it tied around the handles of your handbag.

P.S in the latest issue of Matchbook Magazine, a feature story about Ryan Gosling reveals that his dream project is to work alongside Natalie Portman in a remake of Roman Holiday. Swoooon. I really, really hope this happens.

<3

I’ve managed to track down several different photo sets that are incredibly cute and festive for the upcoming holiday that some of us love and hate….Valentine’s Day.  I might not have such animosity towards this “day for lovers” if I actually had someone to spend it with but, that’s neither here nor there.  Nevertheless, I heart these photos below!

How fun are all of these Valentine’s Day inspired accessories from Ban.do?? I especially like the heart headband and the big poofy flower pin.

These huge heart balloons from Giranomo Balloons are absolutely adorable!! Wouldn’t it be so fun to walk around town holding one of those?! Of course you would have to wear a super chic outfit like the girl above.  Check out this cute video showing more of the balloons!

Geronimo Balloons Valentine’s Day from hak lonh on Vimeo.

These little lovebirds shot a “Cupid” inspired engagement photo shoot via Green Wedding Shoes .  It’s adorable and I’m jealous. There I said it.

xoxo and not bitter at all,

Shannon

Happy Friday!

I am so pleased that today is Friday.  After I hit up the gym tonight, I have a date with  my jammies, a movie and the couch. Ultimate relaxation will be in full force. Tomorrow Jess is coming to hang out with me in Manhattan and I can’t wait for the fun adventures we have planned! Later, Haley will be joining us for a night out at the bars. Get ready, Aggieville. I’m so excited for a fun weekend ahead! Yay! Happy Friday, everyone!

I guess I’m “Feeling Frenchy” again…

National Peanut Butter Day

Yes. It is true.  Today, January 24th, marks a wonderful day in the culinary world.  It’s National Peanut Butter Day.  I think that it is safe to say that PB deserves its own food group and should be devoured at least once a day.  Creamy, crunchy, whipped, extra crunchy, it’s all great.  Eaten by the spoonful?? Even better. Here are some of my favorite peanut butter treats along with some others that just look absolutely delicious.

1. Creamy Peter Pan Peanut Butter –A classic.  I grew up on this creamy concoction and I always find myself going back to it.  Maybe I’m not giving other peanut butter varieties a fair chance, but I’ve found one I love, so why would I change now?? PS.  I once betrayed Peter Pan  and tried PB2 which is a powdered peanut butter, people.  It just doesn’t compare to the good stuff.

2. Peanut Butter Cheese Ball— I’ve never been fortunate to try this delicious looking dessert (I don’t think those are actually dog treats pictured above, but hey, I could be wrong. Arf), but how delicious does it look?!? Cream cheese, peanut butter and chocolate? Sounds good to me.  The recipe can be found here

3. Peanut Butter Truffles— Oh boy. These look scrumptious.  I think I could find myself popping one too many of those into my mouth in one sitting. Want to make them?? Find the recipe here!

4. Edy’s Slow Churned Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream— This is my hands down, my favorite ice cream that I can get my hands on easily. Here is the lineup:  peanut butter flavored ice cream with peanut butter ribbons and peanut butter cups. There might be some other chocolate in there too, but we’re talking peanut butter today.  Added bonus: it’s 1/2 the fat of regular ice cram and I can absolutely not tell at all when eating it.  Other delicious peanut butter flavored ice creams?? Blue Bunny Peanut Butter Panic and Braum’s PB Cup.

5. Jumbo Honey-Roasted Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies— If you’re in a hurry and want to curb your peanut butter craving, this recipe is an easy solution.  If you want the easy directions you can find the recipe here.

6. Reese’s Egg–(or any other seasonal Reese’s peanut butter cup).  These little guys are better than the normal Reese’s variety.  For some reason the peanut butter to chocolate ratio is different and it truly makes a difference.  I love them. Especially when they are eaten cold. Yes, put them in the refrigerator before you snarf them down–you won’t regret it.  I know the eggs are already in stock in my local Dillons grocery store, so maybe V-Day hearts will be out soon, too?!  Last night I just finished my last Christmas tree…I savor these little morsels of heaven.

So yes, to answer your question, I will indeed be eating some peanut butter at some point in the day. Maybe once, maybe twice….maybe even thrice.

Chrismukkah

If you haven’t ever seen the television show, “The OC,” you are truly missing out.  Not only was this show filled with witty characters, a dramatic storyline, tons of pop culture references and the best music, it also introduced viewers to the idea of “Chrismukkah”.  Yes, Chrismukkah–the meshing of two holidays, Christmas and Hannukkah.  Seth Cohen coined this term and holiday, while growing up because he wanted to celebrate not just one, but both of these sacred holidays.  Each season on the OC, there was a special “Chrismukkah” episode and even a Chrismukkah soundtrack was made (Yes, I have it, along with all of the other OC soundtracks).  So, if you are bored over Christmas break you should probably just watch all of the seasons of the OC on Netflix. I promise, (aside from parts of season 4), you will not regret it!!

Happy Chrismukkah!

Weekend

Over the weekend I made the trek back to Valley Center to see my parents and my favorite little Sheltie, Flint!! Although it went way too fast, the weekend was very relaxing and nice.  Saturday morning my Mom made cinnamon roll pancakes, I went for a very breezy jog–the wind was awful and then later my Dad and I test drove a new Honda Civic EX Coupe..just for fun : ) I totally want one now, but the Grand Am still lives on.

After Chipotle for dinner, my parents and I watched the K-State football game against Oklahoma State. It was such a close one, but the Wildcats couldn’t quite pull off the W.  Things got weird after the game. I think Kansas experienced its first earthquake ever.  Evidently it was an aftershock from a 5.2 quake in Oklahoma City.  Honestly, I thought there was a truck in my driveway with their bass turned up too loudly.

When I finally pulled myself out of my pajamas and very comfortable reclined position on the couch, I went into Wichita and bought an Apple iPhone 4S.  I can’t wait to use it and have in depth conversations with Siri!

I thought it might be kind of fun to do a little “What I Wore” type post, so here it goes!

Polka dot top: Old Navy.  Green vest: Old Navy, Belt: Mom’s closet.  Denim shorts: Gap.  Tights: Wal Mart??  Boots: Target  Jewelry: Forever 21 & Krystallos.

Lastly….Santa Flint!

Picture Perfect

Day 8: Technology

I’ve had my outdated, yet somewhat faithful Canon Powershot SD1000 (3x optical zom and 7 megapixels) since August 2008 and have used it hundreds and hundreds of times.  Although I don’t have “an eye” for photography, I’ve always loved taking photos and was in need of something slightly more versatile and sleek to carry around with me while out with friends, traveling, etc. I received my SD1000 as a gift from my parents before I went on a vacation to California because the camera I had previously was a big chunker with a tiny screen and  like .5 megapixels. I  My new slim camera was a definite upgrade and I loved using its new and improved features. For the first couple of dreams it worked like a dream!! I had no problems with it whatsoever and my photos always came out looking crisp and clear. However, for some reason unbeknownst to myself (or anyone else who has tried messing with the camera’s settings), all of my photos are slightly “off”. No matter how much I adjust the settings to try and improve the image, faces are washed out and blurry and just a teensy bit out of focus.  I’m not sure what the problem is, seeing as my brother has the identical camera and has never experienced these kinds of issues. With that being said, three years later, I think it is time to update my little guy for something with a better zoom, way more megapixels and a wide angle lens!

Conveniently enough, Canon just introduced their new ELPH 310 HS (8x optical zoom and 12.1 megapixels) camera yesterday at a reasonable pricepoint and available in a rainbow of colors.  While black or silver would be the most practical and “grown up” for a young professiona like myself, I can’t resist a splash of color and am naturally drawn to either the purple or blue! Once I get a few more paychecks under my belt, I will for sure be buying this camera for myself! I can’t wait to post photos on here and Facebook that are actually high quality….or at least a lot better than I currently have!

What kind of camera do you have?? Which color of the ELPH 310 HS (the above photo) would you most likely get for yourself?!