Off The Beaten Path: Do Dances Differently

As Teresian and homecoming season approach, shop local to find unique dance essentials.


Ad Astra co-owner Sydney Gasper trims the stem off of rose to add to a floral arrangement.

by Amy Schaffer, Photo Editor

Hello, and welcome to “Off The Beaten Path!” Ever since I was a little kid, and especially now that I have my own car, I’ve had a sense of wanderlust that keeps me curious about exciting new places to explore. My goal with this blog is to show you bits of Kansas City that aren’t commonly known about and take a little extra effort to find than the Liberty Memorial or the Shuttlecocks at the Nelson. Though Kansas City may feel small when you grow up in it, there are so many diamonds in the rough right in front of us that show how large and diverse of a town we really are. All you have to do is look for them off the beaten path. Hopefully, you see some of these places for the first time and are motivated to visit them yourselves in person, not just on this blog.

In this month’s post, I wanted to focus on one big, looming event that all of us have been worrying about: Teresian. Most of us are scrambling to find dates, the perfect dress, boutonnieres or corsages and a spray tan lady that won’t make you look like a carrot. Though I can’t help you with the date and carrot part, here are three local businesses that will help you in your school dance endeavors.

#1 Ad Astra Market

Located on Johnson Drive in Mission, Kan., Ad Astra is an aesthetically pleasing food and flower shop, serving as a good alternative to grabbing a plastic-boxed rose from Hyvee. The Ad Astra florists are friendly and excited to work with you to create a custom boutonniere of seasonal, Midwestern flowers. However, if the classic red rose is more your style, they can certainly do that too. It’s not a negative either if you happen to go while they’re baking in the back, sometimes I’ve been lucky enough to grab a sample of warm blondie cookies or banana nut bread.

#2 Donna’s Dress Shop

This 39th Street store is a vintage shopper’s dream. Since much of Donna’s clothing is genuinely vintage and not manufactured vintage-style, you find something here that’s different from an online fast-fashion dress and you’ll be contributing to the trend of sustainable fashion. The thing I love most about this place is how many of the dresses remind me of something I’d see on only without the $400 blow to my bank account. I also appreciate how when I’m trying on the armful of dresses I’ve picked out, the employees are happy to provide positive opinions on which ones they like best on me, and — for lack of a better term — hype me up.

#3 Vanity Nails

I cannot stress this enough. Vanity Nails in Waldo is a must-go when it comes to getting that fancy mani-pedi done. This salon is founded, run, and worked by TD and Van Dang, a Vietnamese couple. This is the only nail salon I’ve been to that has never ask me “Where are you from?” referring to my ethnicity, or “Is this Mom?” when asking if the white woman next to me was paying. Because this couple is self-paid and therefore working in humane conditions, they are fun to be around and easy to talk to with no feeling of judgement from their part. There are too many perks to count when you go to Vanity; the lack of claustrophobia found in other salon environments, a neck massage while your manicure dries, and occasionally free Vietnamese dishes Van and TD made from the vegetables in their garden. Just remember to make your appointment ahead of time as walk-ins are not welcome!