Posts filed under home style

Just Another Manic (and Pretty) Monday

Hello from a big bed at 2:19 in the afternoon. Harrison had a weird virus where he had a fever for five days... and then graciously passed it along to his sister. I had high hopes it would be chicken pox, because the timing would be pretty easy and it had been circling our church. But alas, we just got the nasties and have been, more or less, staying inside for the past two weeks.

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C'est la vie! It could be worse, and, if I'm honest, it has perks. Like not wearing real clothes. Or watching so, so many movies. Or not wearing real clothes. Wait, did I say that already?

After a harsh early wake-up this morning, I was feeling snappy where I begrudgingly picked up the house in a fury. (Sorry, Ty, you really are the wind beneath my wings.) But after a few hours out of the house for a coffee date and peek at the Lulu & Nat pop-up, life actually seems pretty sweet. Perspective, people. It's a gracious gift from God.

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I came home to a clean house where the kids are happy, they have food and I have a nice man repeatedly putting up with my floundering through motherhood.

Just this morning, my friend Amber & I were talking about how we once judged moms for "letting themselves go" when they had kids... and how we realise now, it's not letting themselves go. It's, simply, letting go. Knowing that every moment isn't going to be perfect, and you can't keep it all perfect all the time.

So maybe today you feel like one area of life isn't as pretty as it maybe once was or your friend makes it seem. It could be your squidgy body, your dirty house that always seems chaotic because it is, or the pathetic count of unread text messages that remind you of how your disconnected social life is, or that you haven't had a conversation with your husband that didn't revolve around kids, housework or what to watch on Netflix in ages.

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Just know... you're not alone. And that what you're doing is worth it. Those opportunities can (and, I really think will) come back. It just won't be for a while. Just take a deep breath, let go, and make a conscious trade off for living in the crazy, physical today of raising little kids.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on April 25, 2017 and filed under kids, everyday living, home style.

Anthropologie Gift Guide 2016

For me, there's an undeniable nostalgia and excitement that comes from walking into a mall at Christmas time with a list of presents to buy. I remember as a kid, we would all head to the mall and split up in groups to take care of finding everything on our list. I'd always have to be talked down from buying my mom a bejewelled brooch from the ladies section of Dillard's- thanks, dad- and would spend a while wandering around until I found a less obnoxious alternative. After a successful find, our little group would run bags out to the car and throw blankets over them to keep them hidden.

Running around together with Christmas carols playing, sales clerks in Santa Hats and the endless lines for Santa and Starbucks wrapping down the halls- it all added up to a moment that really only came at Christmas and signalled that we were just a few days away from Christmas!

While I love dashing around the high street in England for shopping these days, I loved going up to Brent Cross and wandering around inside the cosy mall in its Christmas hustle. It just felt like how Christmas should be.

I went up to see the new Anthropologie that opened this month. Needless to say, the combo of Anthropologie styling and holiday decor made it feel like I'd walked on to a movie set. (How do they always do that?)

They asked me to pick my ten favourite items for holidays gifts… which was no hard task! The only hard part was trying to find gifts for people other than myself. :)

ONE  | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN

But really, this was the tip of the iceberg of what they have in store. While online might save time, you really need to make a day out of it and head to Brent Cross for a real Christmas shopping day.


Do you have fun memories of Christmas shopping? Or better yet- have you ever been a crazy Black Friday shopper? (I haven't ever been in person- just online!)



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on December 5, 2016 and filed under shopping, holiday, home style.

All is Wright With The World.

 

I often hear bloggers say that "blogging is dead." With social media offering so much variety, people feel that blogs are a dying art. Maybe that's true, but I think we (as bloggers) can't lay all the blame on social media's popularity. I think part of it comes with how bloggers have changed since their starting days.

And so, maybe blogging is dying. Maybe it isn't. But I want to post a post that feels like one I might have posted a few years back.... back before things were so glossy and blog posts all seemed perfect. It isn't part of a series. It isn't sponsored. It has no purpose other than sharing a small part of my day that was great.

And by great, I mean.... fresh-warm-baked-foccacia-the-size-of-small-tires great.

 

 

I bought this little packet on Ocado (delivered groceries! 0.99!) because it had great reviews. To be honest, I wondered if I would ever get around to actually making it because, well, it seemed ambitious even if it was a mix.

 

 

But Tyler got up with the kids this morning letting me sleep for 12 hours in the first time in.... I honestly don't know. I woke up and felt like I could do something miraculous.... And since I'm in no shape for a physical endeavor, I opted for baking. It ended up being so fun and rewarding. Thank you, Wrights Baking, for making me feel like a winner today.

 

 

It was just the right amount of easy + homemaker to make me super satisified..... and the whole process turned out three pans of foccacia bread. So, yeah, we can say the return on investment was high.

 

 

Honestly, I have no idea why I am even posting this... is it really noteworthy to remember making bread from a mix? Not really, but here's the truth: a lot of days we are just hustling to keep it all together. So, when a day comes along, where I feel totally rested, my kids are being great and I actually suceed at a culinary attempt- I guess it feels like a bigger deal than it is.

 

 

So here's to celebrating the little things... and little ones, too. In the midst of craziness, I need to remember to celebrate them, too!

 



 

*images original to aspiring kennedy

 

Posted on August 2, 2016 and filed under eat, kids, everyday living, home style.

Our Home | Smart Spaces & Uncommon Goods

 

Every night, Tyler and I climb into bed and sigh... "I LOVE OUR NEW HOUSE." It's true. I can't believe how much our quality of life has improved with a bit more space. The exta two stops on the Central Line are worth it. While I thought I would forever leave a piece of me in Notting Hill, I can confidently say.... I did not. It's all here with me in our new house, and both me and my in-tact heart couldn't be happier.

There's a huge long story about our house and how we found it, but... I'll save that for another day with a bigger selection of pictures to show you. I was prompted by a really neat company, Uncommon Goods, to share a few peeks out our home. Uncommon Goods has really quirky and unique gifts and, well, uncommon items. But what I really like about them is that they have a great ethos- supporting fair employee wages and benefits and also donating a portion of their sales to your choice of charities. Cool, right? (Plus, I also kinda love their selection of personalized gifts for anniversaries. You'll see what I mean!)

So today, I'm sharing a share a few peeks at our new digs and some of the special things inside them that make it feel ours. So while it's not an entire home tour, how about this.... a handul of little nooks and things that I love in our new home.

 


 

EN-SUITE BATHROOM

I've always rolled my eyes at people's obsessions with "en-suite" bathrooms on the home shows here. I mean, is it really so hard to leave your bedroom to use the bathroom? Well, we lucked out with one here. I can't tell you the gift that having an exta bathroom has given to our marriage. We have never lived in a place with more than one tiny bathroom. It's even converted me to love showers more than baths, which has never been the case until this glorious little nook of hygiene appeared.

 

 

OLD-FASHIONED FOOTED TUB

Okay, I do prefer the shower on the daily routine... BUT, when I can score an hour to sit in this bobsled-esque tub downstairs, I feel like the luckiest woman alive. Toss in some rosewater and powdered milk and it's a dreamiest, steamiest milk bath there is. (Warning: All guests of our home will have a rose milk bath forced upon them. It's my new love language.)

Plus, bathing the kids in it everynight is one of the prettiest and calmest times of my day.

 

 

THE GARDEN

It may be the size of a pickup truck, but the mental freedom that arrives with being about to go outside without getting everyone dressed and pushed out a park? AMAZING. I sit out there sans decent clothing with a popsicle and music blaring as much as possible.

My kids are quickly learning from my example, too.

chairs, amazon

 

 

THE PLAYROOM

Some might call this an office. Others might call it a small bedroom. We call it the playroom. It could have been Harrison's room, but we decided to keep the kids in the same space... and, more importantly, their toys in another (enclosed/hideable) space. Harrison wakes up early, so each morning I haul him there, coffee in hand, and perch on the sofa while he plays. On the wall are pictures from places we have lived and loved. The pillows follow suit with a Union Jack and two embroidered State pillows that I really love. (Again, Uncommon Goods!)

couch, ASDA | throw, peacock alley | state cushions, uncommon goods

 

 

ALL AROUND THE TABLE

I think the thing that I was the MOST excited about after we signed for this house was the dining room. You see, we have been living with small dinettes shoved into our living rooms as "breakfast nooks" for the past 5 years. They were awkward and the proximity of baby food debris to the living space was always a messy chore. Now, the mess is still there- but just, you know, in a place where it should be.

In the midst of being overwhelmed with the prices of dining tables, I stumbled upon a carpenter in Cambridge who had some great tables on sale. I even picked out the Farrow & Ball paint color and had him deliver it to me for £300. Can you believe that? It's perfect for the space. The chairs I got from Amazon, 8 of them for £140, but they seem to be a tiny bit higher priced for the US.

I didn't have any dishes here (they had always been provided in our past rentals), so I ordered a basic white set for 8 people from Gilt for only $120 (including international shipping). I think they fill out the room in a really easy way.

table, the farmhouse workshop | chairs, amazon | vase, west elm | dishes, gilt group | wall art, monoqi

 

OPEN SHELVES IN THE KITCHEN

I'm not sure why it is so gratifying to be able to see your dry goods lined up on a shelf... but, what can I say? It is. Call me a cliche, but a happy one. It feels so nice to see the staples right there without having to dig around in the back of our cabinets.

glasses, bodum | bird vase, uncommon goods

 

*       *       *

 

To be honest, as I've been writing this, I've been thinking of so many other things that I could put on this list... but I'm gonna stop here. I'm gonna quit while I'm ahead. Except for this one little tiny PSA: If you're living in a TINY urban space (especially with kids or pets) and it's making you crazy, consider moving out just a bit. We are 10 minutes from the door of our old flat, and, yet, our world is so changed. I still feel totally connected to the heart of London, and, in some ways, even more so.

 

Our neighbors came and introduced themselves, we can actually get into great schools and the list goes on.... I encourage you to let loose of the idea of what you address you think you need to really experience "London" and see what you might get in return!

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

*this post was sponsored by Uncommon Goods.

 

 

Posted on July 6, 2016 and filed under everyday living, home style, shopping.

Mother's Day (The Anthropologie Way)

Back in England, Mother's Day is right around the corner. Sunday morning, Mother's all over the United Kingdom will be fluffing flowers in vases, putting on pretty crisp blouses to wear to brunch and getting a tiny sliver of the applause the deserve for their year-round effort.

Before we left for Paris, I hosted a little Mother's Day brunch. Except it wasn't really for other Mothers, but for some women that have made my life as a mom so much better by helping with our kids in various ways- helping out when I have something for work spring up, watching them in the creche on Sundays, or maybe just being a constant source that I can talk to about everything from sleep struggles to silly stories from the day.

It wasn't a huge deal- just an average weekday get together with some killer plates to set the scene- but those women deserve at least a spread of food for the help they share. This baby-raising gig isn't easy, and good friends who shoulder that are a rare gift. 

Pop over the (obviously gorgeous) Anthropologie Blog to see the whole morning we had together- complete with my own mom's recipe for some quick and easy Texas biscuits with some honey butter to slather on top.

Also, I've done a bit of a candid interview with them discussing Motherhood. I always feel a bit shy at the thought of getting so personal to the online world, but something came over me and I let a bit loose.


In the spirit of sharing the love with those who stand out to you- both as helping mother your children or as a fill-in mom to you, I'd love for you to tell us about them below. (And then go buy them flowers!)

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

Posted on February 29, 2016 and filed under holiday, home style.

The Sum of All Parts.

 

A few weeks back, I was asked to participate in a little project that would involving filming someone surveying what various objects lying around my house said about my personality.

At first, I was not interested. First, I hate being on camera. Second, I was scared to death to have a stranger make assumptions about me based off what they may find. ("Hmm... these crumbs everywhere indicate a strong addiction to cookies and the dirty clothes piles imply an aversion to laundry.")

But then, I heard that BBC Comedian Mark Watson would the one coming over, and I threw self-pride to the wind and said "Yes!" 

The whole thing took about 15 minutes. Easy enough and then the headed off to the pub to wrap the day up.

I just got the final version back that will be used for Money Super Market's campaign. I'm just a tiny clip for a much larger project, but if you want to have a good laugh- watch me on camera! (You'll also get a little peek into our flat, if you're curious.) 

 

Watch the rest of the videos here on the MoneySuperMarket site. (It's like watching a good British reality TV show.)

 



Posted on December 4, 2015 and filed under home style.

Owners Guide to Rented Homes.

 

Okay... we used to have a home. (See the ancient home tour I did years ago of it!) Since we moved overseas, we live the life of a renter. While there are pros to having your own property, there are some serious perks to renting. Basically, not having to worry about figuring out how to fix anything that breaks. Ha! We just make a call and within a day, someone is there to fix it and we never see a bill. Home ownership of a 1920's bungalow always had expensively mundane bills springing up, so this is nice for the busy season of life we are in.

Tyler has some serious qualms about putting nail holes in the wall... to which I can only say, worth every single of that deposit we won't get back. Naked white walls make me fifty shades of grey. Or something like that. 

But the only problem with filling your walls with art is that it takes, you know, art to do it. And a lot of art is really expensive. I wish I could tell you that I had a wealthy aunt in Provence that willed me her favorite paintings, but alas... no luck. But I do have Minted who is awesome and has art at any size that I need, so consider this my one tip. (But hey, it's a good one!)

And it doesn't just look cool, but it's the right price point for me to find a few pieces that work... or find one big piece that can make the space.

Our entryway, or as we lovingly know it as "the bottleneck," there is a tight skinny corridor that leads from the front door to the living room. It was an endless abyss of blank walls until I stumbled upon these cute birthstone prints. I got one for everyone in our family, and they hang (typically crooked from toddler running and front door slamming) there for me to enjoy everyday as I dump my pockets out and kick off my shoes after a long day.

I love them.

I also love our nightstand. I have a butterfly from the creepy and amazing taxidermist down the road from us in Paris. I have a bottle I found in an antique shop with my friends from work the first time we traveled to Avignon. And I have that pretty anchor print that has no sentimental value other than it makes our room feel complete.

As we get older and student loans get smaller, I hope that we can collect fine art... but for now, Minted is the perfect fit for making our home bright. Try it! I think you'll love it. Especially the sweet silhouettes that they do of children or the letterpress artwork of their hand drawn creations. Minted has the prettiest color palettes to bring a blah room to life.

Okay. That's all. I ordered these months ago and have been dying to share them since... and I finally got some really awful lighting to show them off. ha! It's the best I can do with short daylight hours here in London during the fall/winter. :) Check out Minted- they have 20% off their foil-pressed art right now, too!



Do you have special artwork? If so, how did you get it? By putting in the investment or by stumbling across good luck like a discarded masterpiece on bulk trash day?

Posted on November 13, 2015 and filed under home style.

A London Nursery + Minted Giveaway

We are so lucky to have two bedrooms here in London. This flat may be smaller than any house in the US that we could be living in, but I'm not delusional for a minute with how fortunate we are to have the extra bedroom in our flat. 

When this baby arrives (6 weeks!), we'll have both kids sharing a room... that is, after he graduates from his initial landing spot in the Moses basket in our room. I'm merging a little girl and a little boy into the same space. So creating a happy place that balances a sweet space for both of them that is also gender neutral was the goal.

The room is small enough that we can't add more furniture, so all we needed was to freshen up the walls and bedding. With a few upgrades and a few holes in the wall, we've come up with the finished product. Thanks to some artwork from MINTED and new bedding from Peacock Alley, the room looks completely different... and Viola loves to point them out everyday. I love that she likes her room more!

 

While I don't have room to invite you to stay, (sorry- fully booked from here out!), I can extend a bit of the nursery to your own home. One of my favorite companies, MINTED, is really kindly offering $300 of Minted credit to one of you. (YAY!) Get excited and sign up for you chance to win below. I'm happy for my house to have a pretty new room... and I'm realllllly happy for one of you to have the chance to spruce up your space, too!

 

 

And you know what makes me even more excited? The fact that Peacock Alley is also going to do a giveaway for some luxe linens after the baby arrives, too! :) 

 



 

*images by Sara Kerens.

*artwork c/o Minted

Posted on April 17, 2015 and filed under babies kennedy, kids, shopping, home style.

The Dahl House

When I was in fifth grade, I had a really great teacher, Mr. Saffold. I'll be honest: I don't remember a ton of what we studied, but I remember a lot of the daily rhythms that we had in the classroom. Small things that added up to big impressions. The first is every morning, he had a meter stick and would point to various spots around the world on his wall-sized map. Within a few weeks, we could name every major body of water, sea, river, continent, dessert, mountain range and any other various item of note on a map. Each morning, we would start the day with a quick drill of this game, and we loved it. To this day, when I see the Caspian Sea, the Tigris River or the Prime Meridian, I can't help but think of that silly routine that actually made me a bit of a geography champion. 

The second thing that he did that stuck with me was that he read to us. Every day, after lunch we would have a small portion of time where he would read aloud to us. We could sit at our desks or lounge around the floor by him. At eleven, all felt a little "too old" to be read to at that age, but we also secretly loved that he would still do it. The only books that he read to us were by Roald Dahl, and his silly voices and daily readings eventually grew a big soft spot in my heart for these books. 

I'll never forget hearing Danny Champion of the World, Matilda or The BFG as he read them to us. The words on those pages came alive to me and my mind plugged away all the silly phrases and curious observations that were written within them. 

I asked my good friend, Katy Byrne, who is both an interior designer and attended the same little school as I did, to create a children's room based off his books. Is that dorky? Kind of, but I can't help it. Since that age, I've wanted to share his special world with my kids. I can't imagine any human that is half me not being completely enamored by him. Creating a room around his books seems like a pretty good starting point... so, here you have it. Just for fun and for some inspiration. Enjoy!

 

WHAT KATY SAYS:

Children's rooms can be tough. They tend to walk a fine line between adorable and cheesy.  But truth be told, children's spaces are my favorite places to design.  I love playing into the imagination while giving a room life, especially for a sweet little one.  This Roald Dahl space has the perfect balance of whimsy and sophistication.  The punches of pink and green paired with white lacquered furnishings and gold accents result in the perfect blend of color and texture.  It's a dreamy space for a sweet girl like Viola to learn and grow! 

 

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN

 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

Posted on January 12, 2015 and filed under everyday living, home style, shopping.

Keeping In Cozy

 

While our house now is only 700 square feet, I can't pretend that we had to adjust that much to European housing standards. Back in Dallas, our little home was only just over 1000 square feet. I guess I've always been a sucker for character over size. It just makes the everyday living so pretty.

Except for when you have guests stay with you. Then life in small surroundings can get... cozy. I asked the always-cool Lesley Weaver to weigh in on how to keep it together while hosting in a small space. After working for years in publishing, she started her own publication, BUNGALOW MAG. Between all of that experience and her current role as Creative Director, she has a lot of cool houses that pull this off well. I've begged her for a few tricks for us to steal for the holiday season.

 


KEEPING IN COZY: Guest Solutions for Living In 750 SQ Feet and Under

From Leslie:  In my twenties,  I spent a year hopping around different cities on the quest for the perfect job only to return to a plush size pad in Dallas... a 700 square foot apartment. I was quoted in my company bio as being "ready to leave 300 square feet of living." Not entirely the full story, but that year I spent a couple months living on a couch in Los Angeles.

Most of us at some point have slept in difficult situations all in the name of 'togetherness' with family and friends. With the holiday season fast approaching, there are six ways you can make your guests comfortable in a 'space challenged' situation.

 

OVER ACCOMODATE. Make sure your guest needs are met before they ask. Wi-Fi passwords, extra blankets, towels, toiletries, bottled waters, snacks and outlet access to dock electronics are things most guests will need access to. | Bungalow Suggests: Soft bedding like the Biscayne Coverlet + Shams by Peacock Alley is very welcoming. This Woven Throw by John Robshaw allows for snuggling up at night and giving your guest temperature control. Guest Soaps by Clause Porto are perfect little mini soaps for a short visit.

 

BE CLUTTER FREE. Create storage solutions for your guest. Allow them to store blankets and bedding in baskets, store luggage in coat closets,  and share a little counter space in the bathroom. The less stuff there is to navigate around the better. | Bungalow Suggests: Console by Blue Dot is perfect for storing dishes and silverware, as well as personal items and sheets. Drop pillows in the modern Basket from Bend and use the Bloak Ladder from Minam to hang extra towels, throws or bedding.

 

CREATE PERSONAL SPACE. Living rooms can often double as guest rooms. Make a point to be out of the 'guest space' at a reasonable time. A guest doesn't want to ask permission to go to sleep.

 

USE THE GREAT OUTDOORS. Break up the day and get some fresh air. Grab coffee, go on a walk, see a movie, or visit a museum. | Bungalow Suggests: NY Times 36 Hours from Taschen has ideas for outings in every major city.

 

CREATE A MOOD: Playing music can set a tone for any gathering. Keep music playing to fill in the moments of silence and entertain when you need to switch out of the host/hostess mode. | bungalow suggests: Carry your music all around the home with a Cone from Aether.

 

ESCAPE: Everyone needs a little downtime during an extended stay. Give yourself permission to go to your room and take a nap, read a book or just take a break.

 


What are your tips for creating personal space within small living quarters? We try to sleep in our guest room once ever six months so that we can make sure that everything is up to snuff- temperature, bedding, light coming in from the street, etc. It's amazing what you don't realize about a space until you actually sleep in it!

 

 

*image orignal to Aspiring Kennedy 

 

To Viola. XO George.

 

I know a lot of us are familiar with the Instagram darling, Target Does it Again... but have you seen it's WalMart counterpart, Woah, Wait, Walmart

Two of my college friends are actually the brains behind the site & popular IG account. You'll see them modeling clothes and finds on a daily basis that will really make you rethink the Arkansas-born retailer. While I was resistant to like it as a Target loyalist, I have to say: I've been impressed... and inspired.

While we don't have WalMart here, we do have ASDA- their UK arm. And while Target has Mossimo and Exhileration, ASDA has George.

Since we are moving flats in a couple of weeks (don't even ask- it's just too crazy to even acknowledge), I'm challenging myself to think outside the IKEA box and design a room for Viola entirely off items from the George line. So here you have it, a nursery for Viola by George. (Until Prince George can give her own apartment within the royal residences, obviously.)

ONE | TWO | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN

I based the design off the wallpaper I found- it's £8 a roll! I mean, that about $150 less than the roll of designer wallpaper I had been crying over recently. 

I have to say, I like the end result. Since our second bedroom also shares the purpose of "guest bedroom," I like that the look is playful without being immature. We'll see if I can actually muster the brain power to put this look into an actual reality after we move in!


Check out Woah ,Wait, WalMart? on Instagram to get in on the daily finds. I promise, they'll win you over with their affordable finds, too.

 

 

 

*artwork orignal to Aspiring Kennedy

*sponsored by George

Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under shopping, home style, kids.

Get a Move On.

You know when life gets busy and you want to just freeze from all the pressure. The only thing you can do is just keep moving.

So that's what we are doing. In the midst of chaos, we are MOVING. In two weeks. What? I know. It's craziness to the millionth degree, but our landlord needed our flat for a family member and we had to make a quick jump to find a new place.

 

Luckily, our new place is great! I'm really so excited to get in there, shave off a good ten minutes from my commute (while still enjoying the best our neighborhood has to offer!), and have an apartment with a beautiful updated kitchen and a REAL fridge. Yes, our current flat has a fridge the size of a dorm fridge. The glamorous European lifestyle, y'all. 

While there are so many great things about our new place- that I'm sure I'll share with you in time- I've still got to figure out how to get all of our stuff from Home A to Home B. I'm too caught up in the logistics of life to mourn leaving our current home.

The home that we dreamed of our girls in, the tiny kitchen that I spent countless hours cooking in, the home we brought Viola to, the table that welcomed friends over dinner, the walls that saw some really happy times and some really sad times. It's the home were we became a family.

But here we stand... in the moment of normal life just before everything changes. (Again.) The tides of life seem to turning over again. And who knows what other changes it will bring our way!

Plus, our new address will practically make us neighbors to Will & Kate, so... you win some, you loose some.

 

 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 13, 2014 and filed under london, everyday living, home style.

People I Like | Laura Row Studio


I used to always try to bring back a print or piece to hang from my travels. I would always try to find one that I loved or a bottle of perfume. I figured neither took up too much space and wouldn't seem overtly touristy.

Then we moved into flat-rental life where you can hang anything on the walls, and I stopped. I was backlogged on things to hang... and it was making me sad to just roll them up and stick all the pretty prints I'd collected in big tubes to store in the back of my office.

I'm hoping that someday SOON I will have a place that I can cover the walls of with special glimpses of places and moments we've enjoyed. Subtle images that bring to mind great experiences from some other place.

That's why when the sweetest Etsy artist, Laura Row, contacted me about hosting a giveaway, I couldn't say no. Beyond being really nice, she also has a gorgeous collection of watercolor prints that remind me of some of my favorite places. (Mainly Paris!)

Here's your chance to bring a bit of her loveliness into your own home! Laura is giving away $50 shop credit so that you can hang a couple of pretty pieces in your own home. Check out all of her work at her Etsy shop, Laura Row Studio. She does really sweet custom work, too, like her custom wedding prints. What a fun gift for a couple to remember their special day!



Cute stuff, right? What's your "go-to" souvenir? Mug? Magnet? Christmas Ornament?

 

 

 Entry is open from 19 September to 26 September.

 One winner will be selected at random.

 

Posted on September 19, 2014 and filed under giveaway, shopping, home style.

Easy like (Monday) Morning


Since Tyler & I both work from home, we've staggered our schedules a bit to make it work. I use my night owl inclinations to stay up late and work. He gets up early. This makes our mornings are pretty routine. Tyler gets up first, makes a smoothie, reads and gets to work. Viola and I stay asleep. Sometime around 6:30, she'll wake up and say, "Mama! Mama!" until I go grab her and toss her in bed with me.


We'll snooze a bit more, and finally wake up. She'll wave to me and say "Hi!" and then we'll snuggle for a long time holding hands and reading. Finally, I'll text Tyler and say, "We're up!" He comes with coffee for me and takes Viola down for breakfast while I get ready.

I actually really like the set-up. It's fun to spend good chunks of the day with each other in different ways.

And I especially love that thirty minute stretch of just rolling around in bed with Viola before the day starts. She pats my arm, I count her toes, she hides under the pillow... and, well, I'm just enjoying it because I know someday soon, those moments will be gone. Like a sweet dream that comes and goes with the morning light.

I also really enjoy my Love Ophelia robe that they gifted the attendees for The Hundred. (I know, so generous!) I wear it while I work late and in the mornings as I get my act together and sip some coffee. It's really soft jersey cotton that washes perfectly. I, literally, have worn it every day since getting it. It's that good.

You know how once you get married, your perspective on what gifts you want to give a couple change so much? You actually realize what they'll use instead all the time. I feel the same about lingerie showers & new-mom gifts. Instead of getting some sexy nurse outfit, I always gift a robe. (I might have worn one so often in my pregnancy, Tyler referred to it as my "day gown.") A good robe will last you for years of quiet, peaceful moments. 

So engaged or expecting friends, consider yourself warned. (You'll probably/definitely be getting one of these as my gift to you.) And if I won't be gifting you with a plush robe in the near future (sorry!), you can gift yourself with one. Thanks to Love Ophelia, any of you nice people with 15% of your entire purchase in celebration of The Hundred. Just use code THE100 at checkout. Sweet.

 

 

 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 30, 2014 and filed under everyday living, kids, home style.

Home Is Where Your (Furniture) Is.

  Tyler vacuuming our flat before it was shot for Apartment Therapy. I was a week away from delivery!

Tyler vacuuming our flat before it was shot for Apartment Therapy. I was a week away from delivery!

The thing about our flat is that it came pre-furnished. Luckily, our landlord and his adorable French wife have great taste. The pieces there are scoured from antique markets and other interesting places. They are a huge upgrade from the tattered IKEA assortment that is typically found in furnished apartments. Aside from the couch formed of two separate pieces that seem to magically drift apart just as you get comfortable, I really can't complain...

Before we moved to England, we owned a really cute house in Dallas. (I posted a little tour of it years ago, if you want to peek.) We have several pieces that I dream were in our London flat. Instead, they sit collecting dust in my parent's attic. Even if we convinced our landlord to move the existing furniture out (he won't!), our American pieces are too large to fit in our flat.

Being back in the States -and near American retail- reminds me of all the things that I would have around me if we moved back to the States. We don't plan on that happening anytime soon, but there are days that I conspire to somehow haul back over our comfy white couch for Sunday naps, serve dinner in our simple white everyday dishes, cook with my sharp knives (oh! how I miss the luxury of non-IKEA knives!) and climb into our gorgeous king-sized bed at night.

So when you see me wandering through a cute market or chowing down on a flaky pastry, just know that those little European luxuries come with a price. Though until those pastries are in hand, I'll online shop like the best of them.

 

 

Check out our home tour on Apartment Therapy!

 

Posted on July 10, 2014 and filed under london, life, everyday living, home style.

A Piece of Work.

 

Our walls are pretty naked.

For as much as I love to collect art pieces and prints along our travels,

I have the hardest time bringing it all together.

 

Will someone please come help me hang them?

I'll pay you back in yummy biscuits and coffee. 

 

Can I add some of these gorgeous photographs

by Lupen Grainne to my frameless collection?

 

I think they are so pretty, and I want them all over our home.

 

lupen_grainne_peonies_aspiring_kennedy

Those peonies are a perfect mixture of soft + strong.

lupen_grainne_aspiring_kennedy_etsy_artwork_collections

I love this apartment building

lupen_grainne_paris_photography_aspiring_kennedy

I love that one,

and this one, too.

lupen_grainne_aspiring_kennedy_paris_cafe_1

You can see more of her work in her etsy shop.


 

Does hanging art totally paralyze anyone else?

I'm just so daunted by it...

maybe it's a renter's thing.

 

I'm not sure I was so (nail)gun shy

when we owned our own house.

 

 

 

 

*images by Lupen Grainne

Posted on June 6, 2014 and filed under beauty, travel, home style.

In The Houzz | Babyccino & Co.

This month,

I hit the jackpot

when getting to do

a Houzz hometour

of the

Adamo Family.

If you aren't family with the

Babyccino Kids

site,

well, you should be.

Even if you don't have kids,

Courtney's instagram

will win you over.

Her life/family/style is just...  

gorgeous.

So it was no surprise to find

that her home in North London

near Hampstead Heath

was anything other than charming.

I got to go with my friend,

Noah,

for the home shoot

and we had such a nice morning

working around the house

while the Adamos ate breakfast

and got ready for a weekend in the country.

Go on and check out

the home tour

...

and, in the meantime,

 enjoy a few outtakes

from our fun morning

with the Adamo family.

Check out my other home tours

as Houzz' London contributor

here.

*photography by

Noah Darnell

for Houzz

Posted on December 28, 2013 and filed under "blog world", "houzz", "interiors", "photography", home style.

Write It Down.

I enjoy writing.

(Obviously?)

I can think clearer and articulate how I feel

by writing my thoughts down.

Journaling has always been a huge part

of all of my travels.

If you looked in my closet

at my parents house,

you would find endless journals

half-filled with pages of my travels.

School trips, mission trips, family trips...

They would become immortalized by pen.

It seemed an injustice to the experience (and expense!)

to do anything but that...

As if it was wasteful to forget one day.

And I guess I still feel that way...

I love taking notes, pictures, 

writing favorite spots

we discovered down along the way

to show an odd form of thankfulness for the experience...

That's why this blog is so full of things, I suppose.

If someone can benefit from the experience I had,

it makes it live on and have a deeper worth.

But beyond the journaling & blogging,

I also love writing postcards.

I send them to the littles in my life that are special to us...

And, now that they've received them for a few years and the excitement has worn off a bit,

I get to write them to a new friend who needs them.

And that just makes the experience of going places,

even amazing places,

all the better.

Postcards? Pictures? Videos?

How do you savor your travel experiences?

* * *

I just walked in the door from two weeks

moving around England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland...

capped off by a weekend in Barcelona.

(If that's new news, jump on the

Aspiring Kennedy Instagram

train for immediate gratification.)

More on those later

-as my immediate priority after a 4am taxi is a nap-

but for now,

check out two other places (on-line) 

that you can find me at recently.

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