Friday, September 28, 2012

Fresher's Ball: Paint Glow

Last night I did something completely out of the range of my comfort zone. I went out on my own to the Paint Glow themed Fresher's Party. I didn't know anyone, but just went with the feel of the place and the music and started dancing. Now aside from it being a great DJ dancing party, this was Paint Glow so water guns of glow paint were pumped into the crowds, buckets were dumped on heads, and people would go up and draw on your face with paint. I met a great bunch of people and had a blast dancing all night covered in paint.

Before, during, and after. I was drenched in color, most can't be seen in the last because there isn't a black light. But I loved the glowing heart on my shirt pocket.

 [photos via Daire Calnan]

I think the best part was that no one was freak dancing or grinding, just crazy people dancing. Be sure to check out this video to sort of get the full effect.

So. much. fun.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Liebster Award #2

Hello everyone, I'm very thankful to Bailey of Bailey's College Life for nominating me for my second liebster award. She's such a sweet girl and I'm glad to answer a few questions for the liebster award which is "The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome." 

Now while I've done one of these before back when I first started up my blog almost an entire year ago, this award has changed a bit with different rules and a much better design.

Here are the rules:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you plus create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.
3. Choose people and link them in your post
4. Go to their page and tell them

5. Remember, no tag backs!

11 facts about me:
1. I am not afraid of heights, but I am afraid of stairs. (This has been made clear by all the narrow and slippery castle stairs I've been climbing.)
2. My role model is Nancy Drew.
3. If I wasn't an English major, I'd be studying Art in a heartbeat.
4. I collect postcards and old cameras.
5. I don't drink caffeine.
6. I love reading Irish Literature.
7. I have been engaged for a month now.
8. I like exploring new places whenever I can.
9. I have torn my meniscus.
10. My favorite movies are Big Fish, The Fall, Moulin Rouge, and Amelie.
11. I believe Brie is the greatest of all cheeses.

Questions from Bailey:
1. What is your dream career?
I've given this some thought about what I'd like to do with my life. I'm an English Major, so obviously I'd like to pursue writing whether it be creatively or technically for the government. But, lately, I've considered becoming a secondary school teacher.

2. Where is your favorite vacation spot?
I so far am liking Ireland as a vacation spot. I can see myself coming back to here or Europe in general for my honeymoon and explore.

3. What would you do if you were given a million dollars?
If I were given a million dollars I would designate money for college, wedding, new home, furniture, vacation fund, retirement, and future children college funds. I would touch none of it immediately, but know that it would come in use in the future.

4. Who has been the most influential in your life and why?
My family shaped me into the person I am today. They've just been there for most of everything and I mean I have their mannerisms. I'd say that's pretty influential.

5. What is your favorite inspirational saying?
“In the midst of winter, I found there was within me, an invincible summer.”- Albert Camus

6. What is one quirky fact about yourself?
I'm a pretty quirky person. I was actually given the superlative "most quirky" in middle school and was voted "most unique" in high school. I believe those are just nice ways of saying "Yeah, that's Shannon the weird girl."

7. What are your favorite classes/subjects?
I love English in general since that's my major. Currently I'm taking Stories & Storytelling, Celtic Literature, Themes in Celtic Literature, Irish Literary Revival, Modernism, and Irish Language. These classes really won't start until next week, but I'm assuming I'll like them a lot.

8. If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
I think I would like to be able to cast magic, because it would give me lots of options like levitating objects or zapping people. I could also be pretty secretive easily with magic.

9. Tell me about an embarrassing experience that happened to you.
When I visited Blarney Castle it was raining and I went off the path to the castle. I started to run through the grass, but slipped into a pile of mud and got it all over my new jeans. 

10.  What has been the favorite summer break of your life and why?
This summer was great for me, since I was able to actually spend time with Gerred and my friends. I wasn't working at a camp away from everyone, but actually in Annapolis. Gerred was teaching sailing and was always around. So Saturdays were great days for us to go on great day trips.

11. Why did you start blogging?
 I had a tumblr, but thought I'd become more personal and start an actual blog. I also have a lot of thoughts and ideas in my head and I wanted to get them out in one general place. This is where I share what floats through my head.

My Questions
1. What was your first kiss like?
2. If you could be any animal what would you be?
3. Do you have any unpopular opinions, can you name a few?
4. Where do you see yourself in five years?
5. Which bear is best?
6. What are your favorite books?
7. Do you have a favorite outfit?
8. What shows do you like to watch?
9. If you could go back in time and give yourself dating advice, what would you tell past you?
10. What's your favorite thing about Fall?
11. What's your favorite thing about blogging?

I chose to nominate a mix of the bloggers I have met in college or at Blogger Blitz who have become an inspiration/role model for the bloggesphere.
Emily of Blue Dog Belle
Katelyn of Katelyn Brooke Blog
Jamie of Forever81

Thanks for the nomination, Bailey. This really got me thinking.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Postcrossing 34-42

Here are some of the postcrossing postcards I received from back in the states and during my first week here in Ireland. There was a great variation of countries that sent these out to me including Poland, Ukraine, Thailand, Holland, Belarus, Japan, Germany, and Finland.

1. Cracow, Poland // Here is an aerial view of The Main Market in Cracow. The principal church, clock tower, and town hall tower can all be seen in this postcard.

2. Ukraine // Japan brought Cherry Blossoms to Uzhhorod, Ukraine a hundred years ago and has since flourished and celebrated. It makes me think of the lovely Cherry Blossoms of Washington D.C.

3. Hua Hin, Thailand // This is a fishing town about 3 hours away from Bangkok that has some "great seafood."

4. Holland // I believe this is my second penguin card and I must say rows of animals are lovely. This type of postcard was great because there was a fold at the end that acted as a card that covered the back.

5. Belarus // Storks are the national bird of Belarus, so the sender chose a stork photo as the design on the card she made with Touchnote. I have yet to use this site, but I love that I received one so I know it works.

6. Kagoshima, Japan // Kagoshima lies in southern Japan with an active volcano "Sakurajima" at its back.

7. Briefzentrum, Germany // The typewriter and flowers together in a field is stunning.

8. Finland // This is a little rose fairy about to head off to a party. The text in Finnish says, "The party of the bee begins at 6:00 o'clock. That's why I have a new rose-frock and my wings are ironed. Mr. Dragonfly, hurry up and take me with you."

I'm loving my assortment of cards and if you'd like to try to join Postcrossing and send your own cards (like I got my friend here in Ireland to do) then check it out here. And as always Happy Postcrossing!


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Homecoming Dresses

With the arrival of Fall comes homecoming where school colors are worn and everyone is showing their school spirit at the games. I however, have never truly had a "spirit" for homecoming in high school or in college. It's probably because of the dances. See, I like dances that are more like a Prom or a Ball. I like to be fancy. Homecoming has never been classy. I've seen so much body-con metallic zebra print tulle sparkle dresses that I'm sort of done. 

So, I beg of you, just leave that terribly made high school homecoming dress at home (nay donate it) and don't wear it to your college homecoming. Now, while I try to dress fashionably now I didn't before and have committed this crime of wearing the ugly dress again. It shouldn't happen. (Also why did I ever feel like curling my hair was my best option...since it doesn't work?)

Dresses for events like these should really only get one shot and that's why Rent the Runway is great because you can find a $400-600 dress and rent it for $50-75 for the night. I rented my Birthday Ball dress for the first time from Rent the Runway and looked fantastic. Redeeming, from the above pictures right? So here are just a few Rent the Runway dresses that would be great for homecoming or any sort of social dance coming up.

Erin by Erin Fetherston // All For You Dress
Tracy Reese // Not Over You Dress
Sachin + Babi // Neon Nightlife Dress
Z Spoke Zac Posen // A Little Respect Dress

You can sign up for rent the runway here.


P.S. Karyn just pointed out that the model in these photos is Chantal from ANTM.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Food, Beer, and Pubs

I'm living on my own here in Ireland and have actually had to sort of fend for myself foodwise. Without a terrible dining hall I've been enjoying cooking my own food. But when I'm going out with my friends, we might grab a bite to eat while traveling or even discover the Irish night life.

So far, I've tried out these delicious recipes: Raspberry Glazed Rosemary Chicken and Salmon and Fruit Salsa. I can't wait to find more recipes to try out.

I've also gone out a few times and discovered some pub grub and other food of the like. I can say that I am not quite a fan of fish n' chips or tartlets (quiches), but bangers and mash and guinness stew is tasty.

Puccino's is great little Cafe on Paul Street where they serve a pretty great Irish breakfast. Which by the way is an egg, white pudding, black pudding, sausage, potatoes, toast, and a tomato.

As far as the nightlife goes, well this is actually my first run at it. I've been heading to several pubs and discovering how each is different. There are pubs great for microbrews, conversation, or dancing and I really like doing a pub crawl with everyone.

As for the beer-- I've tried most of the beer on tap: Smithwicks, Carlsberg, Guinness, and Murphys. And I can say that I'm not a beer drinker. I'd rather stick with wine, whiskey, or hard cider.

And how can I talk about restaurants without including Fishy Fishy? See after Gerred proposed to me in Kinsale we headed to dinner in the best place in Kinsale (which happens to be the gourmet capital of Ireland.) When we arrived on that Thursday night everything was completely booked. However, the Maitre D let us sit in the bar. Gerred then told the man that tonight was "special" and immediately the man brought us champagne, then found us the best spot. Our meals were fantastic and the service was phenomenal. Favorite restaurant ever.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Aran Island Sweater

If you look at the top souvenirs you should bring back with you from Ireland, you'll find the Claddagh ring (which I have had for four years now), lace, linen, tweed, Waterford crystal, and at the very top of the list is the Aran Sweater. 

The sweaters are available all over Ireland, but they originated in the small Aran Islands off the Galway bay as a means of distinguishing clans of fisherman who went out at sea. The pattern work in these are complex and handed down in families for generations. However, with the island being so isolated,  the art of making the sweaters are only known now by only a handful of skilled knitters on the island. Thus, making the sweaters (from the islands) very rare. 

When my class took a field trip to Inisheer, I made sure to check out the only little shop on the island. There my class of 36 wiped the shelves clean and made the shop keeper a very happy man. I was so glad to get my hands on one and even happier that the sweater had a clever design with the side button.

I love having this warm and comfy sweater. I'm going to have fun reading my books for class and pretending I'm drinking tea (when in actuality it's probably water in a tea cup) in this. If you're digging this sweater, but live elsewhere Aran Sweater Market is a good place to get these types of sweaters.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The last field trip my Folklore & Ethnology class took was a two day trip to Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands. The island is a great representation of "the folk" since the Irish language is still widly spoken and the land is hardly touched. I had such a great time exploring the small island of Inisheer as I climbed, crawled, jumped, and ran across the landscape. On this island I was truly at peace.

Here is a castle (or possibly just a stone home) where I ate my packed lunch inside with a few friends to escape the wind. Way better than eating in a pub.

We fed this donkey my apple core and he was quite happy about it.

I mentioned there was lots of hiking during this day and most of it was off the beaten path. We found ourselves jumping over rock wall fences, climbing up castles and rock faces, and jumping across stones on the beach. There was just so much to see, do, and experience.

This was pretty neat to see. I spotted a few cairns (known for marking a trail) when we were leaving the rock beach, and then found a few more in a line as we were nearing the shipwreck. I actually learned about cairns from Nancy Drew: Danger on Deception Island and I was so glad that I knew I was able to use them to find my way across the island. Just another fun fact learned from Nancy Drew!

I'd love to return to Inisheer or explore the other Aran Islands just as I did with Inisheer.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Birchbox Men

Every month, when my Birchbox arrives in the mail, I am full of suspense. I'm always wondering which trial sized high-end beauty products I'll receive in my little pink box. Recently, Gerred signed up for his own box (yes, there is now a Birchbox Men) wanting that same amount of grab bag surprise as well to help him with his own manly grooming routines. And when we opened his box up, he got some really great items that he got to try out for himself.

Jock Soap // Bloody Orange Body Bar // "This is not your everyday soap. It invigorates your morning routine with a burst of citrus. Plus, it contains coconut, palm, and safflower oils, so it won't dry out your skin like other soaps." - Gerred

Benta Berry // Super Moisturizing Face Cream // This moisturizer is a great non-greasy facial lotion that has a subdued clean smell.

Supersmile // Whitening System // "I'd be lying if I said my teeth weren't at least two shades whiter after using this product only a few times The sample kit was good, but for more feedback from people you know get the whole kit."- Gerred

CoSTUME NATIONAL // Scent Intense // Even though this cologne is called "Scent Intense," it's not really intense. It's a quiet scent with hints of amber, that just smells trustworthy and approachable.

Barking Irons // Brando Cut T-Shirt // He got a shirt. A whole shirt that normally costs $22. That's a steal really since Bircbox Men only costs $20 a month and he got 4 other products as well. The shirt is comfy, has a great cut, is American made, and is a great homage to Marlon Brando. Have your man wear this, and he'll definitely be a "contendor."

Interested in gifting or signing your man up for Birchbox Men? Go here and check it out and you may even want a Birchbox for yourself.


Monday, September 17, 2012

The Ring

It's been two weeks now since Gerred proposed to me on the hillside and I must admit I'm still in that newly engaged glow. I wake up every morning and feel the ring on my finger and think "Oh, I'm engaged!"And I can hardly stop myself from tilting it and watching it sparkle. There have been lots of requests to see the ring Gerred had custom made at the jewelers, so here it is.

Seriously, this new feeling of knowing that I get to spend the rest of my life with with the man I love is putting a permanent smile on my face. Even when it rains here, I'm smiling.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Postcrossing Organization

I've finally reached 50 received postcards as well as 50 sent postcards! I can truly say that collecting postcards through postcrossing is a hobby of mine now. And now that I have so many cards, I've thought up of new ways to display my postcards. Hiding them away in boxes defeats the purpose of sharing the art and culture of these wonderful postcards, these postcards should be stored in a way that can be seen and celebrated.

Albums // Go for a beautiful new album with pockets to slip the cards into or even try a Vintage Album

Upcycle // Get Crafty and upcycle your postcards into something new like a trunk or a lamp.

Wall Art // Decorate your walls with framed postcards, line them up on photo ledges, and even hang postcards from string all around the room (this is what I do in my dorm.) [via]

Other // You can even hang them up on cork or memory boards. Let them dangle from a mobile, or if you're really thinking of a great use for them hang them in the shower curtain.

How do you organize your postcards?


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Bunratty Castle & Folk Park

The reason I've been in Ireland a month earlier than classes start at UCC is because I am enrolled in the Early Start Programe of Folklore & Ethnology. It's more of an anthropology class I'd say since we are learning about the Irish peasants and their marriage and death rituals, food, homes, and music. Class is Monday through Thursday, where Thursday is reserved for field trips around Ireland. Last Thursday the class went on our first field trip to Bunratty Castle & Folk Park. It was great because all that I had learned in class was there at the park (especially the homes and furniture.)

Our next field trip will be to Inisheer in the Aran Islands.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Three Potato Four

I happened upon a neat little online antique sore the other day called Three Potato Four. It has a collection of interesting finds that are fun to look at and dream of quaint little rooms to fit some of the items in. Just thought I'd share with you some of the finds that intrigued me.

Just wondering, does anyone else love antique shopping?


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Angelas Ashes: The Frank McCourt Museum

The reason why I came to study abroad at University College of Cork, Ireland was to study Irish Literature. So when it came to exploring Ireland, most of my major sights to see have been literary related. That's why when Gerred and I came to visit Limerick, we made sure to see the new (only a year old) Frank McCourt Museum.

[left via]
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Frank McCourt tells the story of his childhood in the memoir Angela's Ashes. Filled with the sorrow of the loss of his sister Margaret and twin brothers, Eugene and Oliver, the story of his life continues to worsen as his father leaves for England when he is eleven and spends all his money at the pub, leaving Frank's mother, Angela, to raise the children penniless by herself. Though sad as it is, the book is filled with excellent black humor and is a great literary masterpiece.

The Museum happened to be Leamy's School For Catholic Boys, the very school Frank McCourt went to when he was young. The owner of the museum, Una Heaten, happened to be one of Frank McCourt's friends and erected the museum in his honor. She also happens to be an artist, so the museum is definitely a little more "quirky" than the usual museum.

There is a glass case full of notebooks that members of Frank McCourt's class donated to the museum for display. The giant picture is of all the masters, and the one in the far back with the beard is the headmaster. The guy with all the medals on his kilt, happens to be the boy that danced a lot and won all the medals from the book.

This is the classroom and desks that Frank McCourt was taught in.

Oh and this little gem. Gerred found this on the way out, a tiny little angel sitting on the 7th step. The same one from the book that brought Frank his brothers. It made me happy to see this little detail as I left.

I still have to read 'Tis and Teacher Man and am waiting until I am mailed them from my bookshelf at home.


Monday, September 10, 2012


I've been exploring Cork City during the day and of course at night. As I am loving the night life, I've realized that I have never really been a party-goer before and don't have anything good for the day to night crossover. So I've been peaking in on a few shops on St. Patrick's Street and just about stopped in my tracks when I found they had a Topshop here in Cork, Ireland. Once inside I helped my friend put together in outfit for his birthday and picked up a nail polish for myself (shown below) because everyone is looking at my hands now and I need to look good. Here's an outfit I made from Topshop to go with the nail polish I picked out.

I'm really considering getting the flats. Until then I'll be peaking in on a few Europe only stores.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

Navy vs. Notre Dame + Guinness

While Gerred was here we obviously had to go to the Navy vs. Notre Dame game. However, walking around it seemed like we might have been the only fans. Even the Irish sided with The Fighting Irish. So when the game arrived, I almost had to close my eyes as we were beaten 50-10. Well, hey, at least we were in Ireland.

Even if we lost, it was great to see all the spirit in the stands of the Aviva Stadium. Then of course, there's always a trip to the Guinness Factory to make the whole situation better.

Though Navy didn't win against this rivalry, we still are going to have a great game come december against the real rivals. Go Navy! Beat Army!