Posts filed under life

Hampstead | A Local's Neighborhood Guide

I’ll be honest- I don’t know Hampstead very well. I have had a few friends live there over the past few years in London, but it’s always *just* far enough out of my way that I don’t go there just for fun. And I got lost there at 35 weeks pregnant with twins.. which doesn’t sound terrible, unless you know how HILLY the neighbourhood is. It was an hour of my life that I’ll never get back… but the effort/calories burned that day may have helped me get back into my regular jeans a few weeks earlier than expected.

Fortunately, it’s not up to me to give you this area guide. Melissa has lived there for several years and has made her home there with her English husband and their two sons. Melissa is a cool, smart lady with an impressive corporate career. She’s got great taste and a friendly smile that make her easy to talk to and a fast friend. Enjoy taking a spin around one of London’s prettiest and most loved hoods with Melissa. Welcome to Hampstead!


Hampstead, NW3

1. TELL US ABOUT YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD.

Imagine a delightful little English village complete with cobbled alleys, stone churches and heaps of willowy trees. Now plonk it down 10 minutes outside the centre of London and you’ve found yourself in Hampstead! Most famous for its rich history and ancient woodlands (called the Heath), Hampstead is a modern neighbourhood with great pubs, cafes and shopping. I really believe you have to experience its charm for yourself in order to wholly translate the unique feel of this area. Hampstead is also a hotbed for a lot of great private and state schools.

2. ON A SCALE FROM 1-10, HOW CONNECTED WOULD YOU SAY WHERE YOU LIVE IS? WHAT ARE THE MAJOR LINES THAT RUN TO/FROM YOU?

Even though it has an English countryside vibe Hampstead is really connected so I’d give it an 8. We are in Zone 2 and I can get to places like Kings Cross, Reagents Park and Leicester Square in 10 minutes. We’ve got two tube lines, the overground and buses. The Hampstead stop on the Northern line puts you right smack centre in the village. The jubilee line to Swiss Cottage is just a short walk away and the Hampstead Heath overground stop puts you right at the bottom of the Heath near the duck ponds.

 

3. IN A DREAM WORLD, WHAT WOULD BE THE PERFECT STREET OR AREA TO LIVE IN WITHIN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD? WHY?

Even after living in this area for 7 years, I still love to get lost with the kids in Hampstead’s little nooks. We find beautiful new alleys that would be a dream to live on all the time! My favourite is Downshire Hill for its beautiful single-family homes with huge yards. I also love the 5 story Georgian townhouses on Church Row and the terraced houses with brightly coloured doors on Flask Walk.

4. ON A SCALE FROM 1-10, HOW WOULD YOU SAY THE VALUE FOR SQUARE FOOTAGE IS? DO YOU PAY A PREMIUM FOR WHERE YOU LIVE OR WOULD YOU SAY IT IS A BETTER VALUE THAN OTHER AREAS IN LONDON?

All the greenery and brick mansions in Hampstead definitely come with a premium price tag; I’d say a 5. Hampstead is one of the most expensive areas to live in London just behind Kensington and Westminster. However, the house prices are consistently rising so it’s a good investment if you are buying. We bought our 4-story maisonette (fixer upper!) four years ago and it’s still rising even after Brexit! I’m sure the great schools in the area have something to do with this. I also think the slower pace, sense of community and lush greenery in Hampstead really give back to your well-being and overall sanity living with a young family in a big city.

5. WHAT IS THE GENERAL VIBE OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD? GIVE US THREE TYPES OF PEOPLE WE MEET SEE ON YOUR HIGH STREET?

Hampstead is very quiet with a bohemian and creative flair. The three type of people you will meet on Hampstead are celebrities, Hampstonians and young families. I think celebs like it here because they aren’t bothered by anyone. I’m always running into Josh Hartnett, Ricky Gervais and Isla Fisher. Hampstonians are the locals, born and raised in Hampstead. I think it says a lot that they send their children to the same schools they attended, which is hard to find in a transient place like London. Mostly, you will find families in Hampstead. We’ve got a solid expat community from all over the world but definitely a lot of Frenchies and Americans.

6. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GET COFFEE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

You definitely have plenty of options for a nice cuppa. My favourite is Melrose & Morgan because I’ve gotten to know the staff well and they have picnic tables big enough for lots of moms and buggies to crowd around. On weekends the whole family heads to a casual little café called Mani’s for a well-priced full English breakfast and Monmouth Coffee. There are two more traditional spots for coffee in Hampstead called The Coffee Cup and Louis. The Coffee Cup is a Hampstead institution and Louis is a cool Hungarian bakery and tea room with the most delicious cakes.

7. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO GET DINNER IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

My husband and I had our first date in Hampstead so we like to relive the night! If you drink or eat at one place in Hampstead, it must be The Holly Bush. Full of charm, fireplaces and dark panelled walls, it is supposedly one of the oldest pubs in Hampstead and it certainly is my favourite in all of London. 28 Church Row is also a favourite. It’s a small romantic spot nestled in a cellar complete with brilliant tapas and wine. La Cage Imaginaire is cute too.

8. HOW WOULD YOU SPEND A SATURDAY IN HAMPSTEAD AS A LOCAL?

Our Saturday routine is as follows: First up we head to a farmers' market that is just next to our house for coffee, produce and weekend treats. We usually meet up with friends for a nice pub lunch at either the Wells Tavern or the Freemasons Arms (also really great spots for dinner!). We walk off our lunch on the Heath, usually starting behind the Wells Tavern and then walking up to Kenwood House. In the evenings we catch a film on the comfy red couches at the Everyman Cinema

9. HOW MUCH WOULD AN UBER TO OXFORD CIRCUS COST YOU? (APPROXIMATELY)

£10-13 -- but I usually just take the tube as it’s only 20 minutes. 


Looking for the right London neighbourhood for you? Check out my other neighbourhood guides: 

SHEPHERD'S BUSH | CHELSEA | DULWICH



*images courtesy of Melissa Reeve

Edie | One Month + An Official Welcome

One month old! Time flies when you’re… wiping buns. It’s been a great month. Edie is such a dream, and I just can’t stop kissing her… and, at times, also forgetting she is now part of our family. (Phrases like “Oh wait! Don’t forget the baby!” as we start to walk out the door to go somewhere seem far too common.)

I’ve shared this on my Facebook page, but in case you missed it- here’s a little video of Edie's arrival. I always feel like a huge dork getting out my camera to record moments that seem mundane… but I’m so glad I took the time to save a few of these. When they are knit together in this video, it makes a really special memory. I already love watching it and know that it will become something that makes me so teary in the yard to come.

Life is sweet with three. Granted- it’s crazy and unglamorous and what have you, but I can’t tell you how comfortable and cozy it feels to have a family of five.

Trying hard to our feet under us in a routine... but also, trying to enjoy the days of just being together and rolling with the days as they come.)  The kids have been so sweet with her, but the lack of a normal schedule, endless visitors and us being distracted is finally starting to show. Any advice on how to manage with the early days of adding a new baby to your family routines?



*images and video original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 9, 2017 and filed under babies, babies kennedy, home, kids, life, pregnancy.

My Florence: Ditta Artigianale

Most people dream of foamy cappuccinos and strong cups of espresso served by brisk waiters in sharp suits when they imagine lingering in a cafe in Italy. Most of the stereotypical daydreams also come accompanied by a Puccini soundtrack... or, at least, they do for me.

While I spend a lot of my time in coffee shops, I had always enjoyed that Italy seemed immune to the hipster coffee scene. (In the same way that I really enjoy not being able to use my phone on a flight.) In Italy, coffee should be served standing at the bar or seated with great people watching in a cafe... and not in a modern setting with cool light fixture and bearded patrons with Apple products.

So when my friend, Grant, recommended that we go try Ditta Artigianale in Florence.... well, I wasn't so sure. Somehow the thought of a hip coffee shop in Italy seemed wrong. But Tyler loves "good coffee," and I wanted to see the Pitti Palace so we compromised and crossed the Ponte Vecchio.


DITTA ARTIGIANALE OLTRARNO

This coffee shop on Via Dello Sprone is of the three Ditta Artigianale locations in the city. This local chain has various locations around the city, but if you're looking for a place to stay for a while- this is the one you want to go to.

The coffee is great. The classic latte is perfectly made- thanks to incredible high quality milk. (Good dairy makes everything better, doesn't it?) They shop also has fresh cold-press juices that are served in kitschy mason jar glasses, but taste fantastic. 

If you're feeling hungry- you have a range of food to choose from. Whether it's something small like a pastry or cookie or something a bit more substantial like a homemade croque monsieur or salad- they've got good options that not only sound cool, but they taste great, too.

With cosy nooks for work or chatting, an upstairs for hiding out, and a patio out back for some sunshine while your kids march around like tiny clowns- this is a perfect place to waste an afternoon.... or just for grabbing a great coffee to go on your way to the Boboli Gardens. 

DITTA ARTIGIANALE | Via dei Neri, 32/R, 50122 Firenze, Italy | Open 8AM-10PM


Looking for more great places in Florence? Check out my guide here and my Italy posts here.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on April 6, 2017 and filed under eat, drink, italy, life, travel.

An English/British/Aussie/South African Accent

Our first year in Oxford, Tyler and I loved the accents all around us. When we would have interactions with people- from the grocery clerk, a nurse or one of his Oxford classmates- we often would repeat phrases back to each other later. It was so fun to hear the new accent of those around us. 

After a few months, it got to this weird confusing point where you are familiar with the words and your start to want to speak in an accent back. But you don't because you actually sound like a wacko. A few of the expats I've asked about this laugh and can recount hilarious stories of when their pseudo English accents slipped out mid-converstation. It's a  awkward moment when you go to buy something at the GAP and when the clerk speaks to you, you blurt out a response that would make Elize Doolittle sound profound before you can think twice. The shock on both parties faces is one that doesn't leave your mind for a long time.

But now... well, now, we don't hear accents. I know that sounds crazy- but when I meet someone, I have a hard time telling where they are from by how they speak. It's more what they speak about- rather than how they say it- that tells me if they live in England. Maybe it's because there are so many expats in our lives that we get immune to the difference or perhaps its because those once once peculiar words and phrases now seem everyday... but either way, now everyone- Irish, English, South African, or whatever- just kind of sounds the same.

When people ask me what Viola's accent is like, I'm honestly not sure how to answer. She just sounds like a little girl to me. Mainly American, I think... but with some British seasoned in it.

Anyway... just something that I noticed today when we were with some Oxford friends that we hadn't seen in a while. They are from New Zealand and I was thinking about when we first met. I think I understood about 1 out of every 6 sentences they said. Weird, right? Has anyone else ever melted into a place where things that once sound strange suddenly sound.... normal?

 



 

*image by Noah Darnell for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on October 8, 2015 and filed under life, expat.

The Sweet Escape (AKA 50 Days of Grey)


You guys!! I was so encouraged by the response from my previous post about quitting sweets/desserts where so many of you decided to join me in this crazy spell! I wanted to hug each of you. Thank you for being a part of this- doesn't it make it more fun when there are others in it with you? Not only more fun, but easier! 

Let's do this.

I wanted to layout the basic structure of how I am doing the fifty days. Now, this isn't a program. It's not a club. It's not anything that you get a medal for making it to the end of. So feel free to add/subtract from below to make it fit for you.

Oh, and for goodness sake, if you are wanting to do this and it falls over your birthday- please take a day to celebrate and eat some cake to celebrate. (I would!) A blind eye and high five is granted for any needed special days. :) This is supposed to be a good thing- so use it as it is helpful for you when and where you can. 


THE SWEET ESCAPE GUIDELINES

 

1. FROM JUNE 1 TO JULY 20, I AM NOT EATING DESSERTS, SWEETS OR CANDY.

 

2. I WILL EAT OTHER NORMAL FOODS AS I LIKE.

 

3. NO FORBIDDEN FRUITS. IN FACT, THEY ARE ENCOURAGED. THIS IS NOT A TOTAL PURGE OF ALL SUGARS- BUT A FOCUS ON REFINED SUGARS AND GIVING YOUR SWEET TOOTH A LITTLE DETOX.


 

So... those are pretty much the only rules I'm going with for the purge. Which for my life- will make a big difference. Since it is not a total exclusion of all sugars, I'll have to use my judgement on how some things may fall; however, desserts and other obvious sugary treats are out.

Easy enough? I hope so! 

I'd love to hear what you'll do to make the fifty days fit your needs/life. This is going to be SO fun. Also, feel free to share in on the experience with the hashtag #AKsweetescape so we can all keep track of how it's going and support each other in the weeks ahead.


 

FOLLOW ASPIRING KENNEDY ON BLOGLOVIN

 

 

*images original to aspiring kennedy, by noah darnell

 

Posted on May 21, 2015 and filed under eat, life, everyday living.

The Rest of the Story...

From the beginning of this pregnancy, Tyler & I have been going back and forth on what the baby "was." After we found out it was just one baby, we knew this pregnancy would be different than the last in a lot of ways, regardless of if it was a boy or girl.

We talked about the pros and cons of each. If it was a boy, it would be completely different. There would be no comparison that could be made, and the idea of a totally new experience from last time seemed like a fresh start.

But if it was a girl, it would feel so nice to finally have two girls- we have a big hole in our heart for the relationship that Viola lost when her sister died. Plus, we get the girl thing. We love it. We have all the clothes and stuff for a girl. It'd be, in some ways, easy.

But as you know... no matter how much you talk about this issue, you have no control over what you end up getting. (And to be honest, while we had opinions, we weren't picky.)

Tyler "knew" it was a girl. I "knew" it was a boy. Though our ultrasound tech, the only person that actually matters in this debate, proved it was a....

BOY!

We are having a boy! We are so shocked by the newness of the idea, that I'm not sure we have our heads wrapped around it. A boy?! The thing is, I know I'll look back on these feelings and see myself as someone who just didn't realize how much sweeter her life was about to become. 

So here we go. Oh, boy!

 


 

Also... toss in your bet boy names below, because we are starting from scratch!

 

 

FOLLOW ASPIRING KENNEDY ON BLOGLOVIN

 

 

 

*photos by Robyn Thompson

*It's A Boy! banner by The Lane Lifestyle, Etsy

*dress by Emoi Emoi/ coat by Marc Jacobs

Posted on January 26, 2015 and filed under babies kennedy, babies, kids, life.

Over the Moon: LUNAFEST.

 

Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Thanks for reading, clicking and supporting LUNAFEST. It's a pretty awesome thing.

 

Right now, Luna Bar is hosting a film fest around the country that focuses on women "game changers." It's called LUNA FEST. Have you heard about it? I feel like I've seen so many tweets chatting about it, and I love that! Not only does the film fest celebrate women filmmakers, but it also has raised $2.5m for breast cancer research. 

I was invited to attend part of LUNAFEST hooplah, but unfortunately- the old Atlantic is keeping me away. (It looked pretty fun, too.) The event was focused on game changers.... and I couldn't help think of how many women have stepped into my life at just the right moment. Maybe they didn't change the game for me, but they flipped my world upside- in the best way.

Friends, Mom. Aunts. Camp Counselors. Professors. Co-workers. Bloggers. Midwives. Expats. 

They're the women that cheered me on through good times. Awkward times. Exciting times. Tough times. Normal times.

I'd like to thank many of you, too, for being there in life for me at those needed moments. You've changed the game for me, too, but your kindness and friendship. Maybe it sounds silly 

And thanks to LUNA Bars. As silly as these corporate events may sometimes sound, I really do love them for their ability to fund people doing something worthwhile together. Thanks to them for sponsoring LUNAFEST. (Maybe next years invite will come with a plane ticket.) :)

Check out the event page site for your local LUNAFEST. You're invited and they want you there. Go for it. Or just watch their happy video trailer below. It'll pump you up.


Okay... my mushy time is over. Now it's yours.

Leave a women who was a game changer for you below. Let's hear it.  ... and if you, too, lived on the lemon Luna Bars in college. I was addicted!

 

 

 

*image via. video original to LUNAFEST by LUNA Bars.

Posted on September 25, 2014 and filed under blog world, photography, life, everyday living.

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.

Three In the Bed...

 

Here's a confession I can't believe I'm putting online: somehow we ended up letting Viola sleep in our bed. We would have never thought we would do, but somehow amidst the shuffle of traveling, blur of late night feedings and emotions of losing Baby B, it just sort of happened.

Sometimes hotels wouldn't have cots, sometimes it was easier than putting her back in her crib, and sometimes- we just felt better being able to hear her breath next to us.

I know most people feel very strongly about keeping their bed as their bed. No babies allowed. I get it- those little guys end up hogging the bed and you have to move tiny feet out of your face throughout the night. It's a different type of sleep. But man... we loved it. The three of us cuddling up in bed was pretty sweet.

Since we've been in Texas, Viola has officially moved back into her own bed. It's kind of great and kind of sad. (Like all milestones are, I guess?) So here's to remembering a year of feeling like my shoulder was permanently out of socket and the sweetest spooning there ever was.

 

IMG_0066.JPG

 

 

 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy.

Posted on June 16, 2014 and filed under life, viola, babies kennedy, family, kids.

Surprise!



 I know, I know....

will we ever stay put?


Well, I can't answer that...

but I can tell you that

sititng by the pool in the heat

and unlimited space for Viola to roam

is pretty dang awesome.


We are excited about our new summer plans!




Also, and perhaps of equally life-changing importance,

I just discovered the site THE REAL REAL...

and it is the real deal.


Here's how it works:

It's formated like GILT

but all the merchandise is consignment designer goods.


 

 

(I got a PRADA skirt and Derek Lam top both for $100.)

 

Plus, first purchase is an additional 20%...

so, yeah, you'll want to check it out.

It's gooooood stuff.

 

Posted on May 28, 2014 and filed under life, fashion, travel, shopping.

Interesting & Controversial: What's the difference?




Over the past few weeks, I've been mulling around a few thoughts in my head.

I've officially been thinking to myself for far too long

and wanted to toss out my thoughts to you for feedback.


Specifically, I've been thinking through the difference

in being an interesting person

and someone who just spits up controversial topics

to stir up comments and interaction.


I recently saw someone post a picture of a woman nursing a toddler.

The poster left a comment stating that they didn't have an opinion on the issue,

but were curious what other people thought.


Obviously, it had a zillion comments underneath it.


And I just thought.... "Cheap shot."


I know, it's hard to be original in a world of pinterest, instagram and the like.

It all starts running together after a while, doesn't it?


Genuinely new ideas and content can be hard to come by.


So in the midst of so many people saying the same things,

here are some people & things that are standing out to me

amongst the endless chatter of voices online...


The Minimalists: I may look like a well-edited person living in our 700 square foot flat, but the truth is- we have tons of crap sitting in storage in the States. After finding these two guys and their journey into minimalism, I was intrigued. The more I've read, the more I want to chuck all the excess stuff. (So hard with a baby!)


This is Why I'm Broke: Okay, this site makes me laugh. It's the SkyMall of online shopping. Seriously, it's your go-to for December when the inevitable White Elephant gift exchange rolls around. All I can say is get ready for when you scroll across the poop soap.


Annie Fitzsimmons | National Geographic's Urban Insider: This chick is trotting all around the globe to talk travel. Not only does she have the world's BEST job, but she is one of the nicest people out there. Follow her on Instagram and try and keep tabs over how many places she goes. It's impossible.


Grace Patton | Camp Patton: I've been singing the Camp Patton anthem for a while, but I promise, if you click through to her site- you'll be a fan for life. Who that knows of Grace isn't 100% on-board with her hilarious writing, long legs and cute family?


Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee | Jerry Seinfeld: This series is so funny. If you have thirty minutes to kill, just click through one of these. I love the conversational nonsense. I laughed so hard during Chris Rock's "Kids needs bullying."


GOOP: Wait, what? Gwyneth makes the list of refreshing voices online? The lady who constantly has eyes rolled at her for spouting nonsense at the masses? Yeah, she does. Why? Because lately the site has been putting out some interesting content. After living in Europe and having a baby, I was doing some big fist pumps over the WORK section in this post. American friends- you are being mistreated in a big way over maternity leave. I grieve this injustice for you, and this piece broke down how bad the US system is.




 

Okay, now it's your turn.

Give me your favorite people or places to check out online

that offer a refreshing (and preferrably hilarious) take on life.

 

 

 

*generic pinterest image via

Posted on May 21, 2014 and filed under life.

Traveling with Kids | Playing Fair

 

Tonight while we ate dinner,

Viola was zoned out watching

Yo Gabba Gabba on my iPhone.

 

I know, 

I was totally that parent in the restaurant,

but here's why I did it

(and while I'll do it again)...

 

Today we woke up at 9:00.

 

We put our clothes on,

and were out the door within the hour.

 

 

We drank coffee at the cafe downstairs,

we walked to the boulangerie for pastries,

and we hopped in the car.

 

We drove an hour,

 explored a cute little town 

and it's famous copper shops.

 

We ate a three course lunch

and we hopped back in the car

for another hour of driving.

 

We reached Mont St. Michel

where we spent the next three hours 

exploring the city

and watching Viola roll around in the grass of the abbey.

 

We walked back down,

hopped on the shuttle,

got in the car,

drove another two hours.

 

When we got back to Bayeux at 8pm,

we went in search of dinner.

 

It was a LONG day.

 

A long, adult-friendly day.

 

My baby was exhausted

and she had sat, sweetly, in her carseat

and through long meals for several days.

 

(She sat through a three hour dinner

on Friday without a moan or cry!)

 

But tonight, she was tired

and wanted to be in bed.

 

So I let her watch weird animals dancing around

as she rubbed her eyes and ate pizza.

 

I won't pretend to have a magic formula for traveling with kids,

but I can tell you:

it's a give and take relationship.

 

You get to see and do great things,

but you have to be kind to them

when you're running them around

without a say in the schedule.

 

You expect big things from them?

Fair enough.

I do, too.

 

But I also try really hard to make it easy on her

when we are in slow moments.

 

 

You may find yourself doing things that make you cringe

(hello baby with iPhone!)

because you put them through a lot 

when you bring them to travel with you.

 

IMG_5627.jpg


Take it easy on them!


Order Dominos into your hotel room

when you've been out all day

so that they can have the night in.


Let them crawl around on the floor

of the back room of the cafe you're having coffee in.


 

If you're nursing, feed them an extra time

to help settle them and make them comfortable.

 

Or whatever may arise that makes their day a bit easier.

You're asking a lot of them...

and it will help reset them for the day ahead.

 

And trust someone who has learned the hard way,

a little "give" during travel

helps everyone out!

 

FIND MY POST ABOUT TRAVELING EUROPE WITH BABIES HERE>

FIND MY POST ABOUT FLYING WITH BABIES HERE.

 

Posted on April 29, 2014 and filed under life, travel, traveling with kids.

Paris Time.

 

Poof.

 

Just like that, our time in Paris is coming to a close. My students have taken their final and are out conquering the continent with their Eurail passes. Tomorrow my parents land and we spend the weekend closing up shop in Paris before jumping around Normandy & Amsterdam for a few days. How did that happen so quickly? I have to say,

I was excited about Paris...Who wouldn't enjoy getting to spend 11 weeks somewhere this great? But while I looking forward to shallow aspects like crepes and museums on my mind, I've been surprisingly charmed by the city on a much more personal level this time around. It helps to have a few friends in a place...and a spot that feels like home to come back to each day...

Just a few small things that turned out to be big things. It's actually been a really refreshing and pleasant time for Tyler & me.

tyler_and_lauren_knight_kissing_in_paris_aspiring_kennedy_noah_darnell

We've spent great time with visitors that we love, and been able to enjoy some good "us" time in the quieter moments of the semester, too. It was a needed break from the past year...it feels a bit like someone hit the 'reset' button for us. It's been good. Really good. I'm sad to say goodbye to this great time, but if I don't....who knows what other adventures I might miss out on?

 

Thanks for hanging around for this chapter of the adventure. Now then...who's ready for some English summer?

Posted on April 24, 2014 and filed under life, paris, travel, france.

Flower Power: Viola Wedding Wear


viola_knight_posh_peanut_kids_amber_mickelson_tamiz_photography_aspiring_kennedy

 

In the search to put together 

an outfit for Viola's flower girl debut, 

I spent a lot of time searching the corners of the internet

in efforts to put together a cute look.

 

(This was a surprisingly harder task than I originally imagined.)

 

So for the sake of sharing the love,

here are all the pieces

that put her cute little look together

for Amber and Tyler's Hawaii wedding.

 

I, personally, thought she looked cute enough to eat.

 

viola_wallace_knight_mickelsonsgetmauid_tamiz_photography_aspiring_kennedy
joyfolie_baby_shoes_viola_knight_tamiz_photography_aspiringkennedy
conner_and_viola_knight_mickelsonsgetmauid_aspiringkennedy_tamiz_photography

 

I wish I could offer a good resource for the floral wreath,

but my mom made it out of a lei

and some left over bits from when doing the centerpieces

about 20 minutes before the ceremony...

 

But the rest is yours via the magic of online shopping. 

 

posh_peanuts_kids_etsy_flower_girl_dresses_aspiring_kennedy_tamiz_photograhpy

 

DRESS via POSH PEANUTS KIDS, $45 | SHOES via JOYFOLIE, $55

 HEADBAND via POSH PEANUTS KIDS, $11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*photography via Tamiz Photography

 

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under life, fashion.

Saying "Yes" So You Can Say "No."

 

Getting to work with college students is awesome.

Their enthusiasm keeps me fresh,

their cheapness reminds me how little I actually need to spend...

and they always teach me cool stuff about the internet.

 

They seemingly always have big plans for the future,

like all young people should have for their lives.

 

It's good to think big,

it's how you get to great places.

 

But like I finding myself telling them often,

people never find themselves in extraordinary circumstances by luck.

 

 print  via

print via

But there's a difference in dreaming big on where you'll end up

and on being naive about where you should start.

 

Let me explain:

In order to get to great spots,

you'll have to succumb to a level of crap + learning before.

 

It's sad, it's terrible... and I hate to tell you that it's true.

 

But I can also tell you that'll you be better for it.

 

You take on projects just for the sake of experience

you won't get compensated in a way that seems adequate for the amount of work you do,

you'll spend thousands an extra degree just to get hired,

and, at many times, you won't get the credit that you might deserve.

 

You'll say "yes" to doing things that you won't like

for the sake of adding it to your resume and skill set.

 

Great things take journeys to achieve,

and the road to hard work

takes equal parts scrappiness + big thinking.

 

So be open to saying "Yes!" to hard work, random jobs, all types of experience...

Because if you're waiting around for a job

that keeps you away from sweating the small stuff...

how will you ever be able to prove you can handle actual problems?

 

Even the best jobs are mainly made up of unglamorous, mundane moments...

speaking from the lady who is about to spend thirty minutes on hold with the bank

as she assembles sack lunches for tomorrow's day trip.

 

It's great to look down the road and see jobs you admire,

but remember the journey that got that person to where you went.

 

For me, it was cookie decorating, awkwardly cold-calling, long hours setting up trade show booths and using all my mental copy-writing a press release that wasn't terrible.

 

None of which was entirely awesome,

but that's okay...

because now it feels even better to work hard in a job that I love.

 

 print  via

print via

Keep yourself open to working hard and new things...

so that, sometime down the road, you can start saying "No"

to the things you don't want because those better options have opened up to you.


Don't let your youth hold you back,

don't feel sorry for yourself for paying your dues.


Use the optimism and the endless energy that the rest of us envy

to push yourself harder than you want...


it's never easier than where you are now to get ahead.


Small choices you make now

have BIG impact later.


 print  via

print via

So go on, all you young whipper-snappers,

get your hands dirty in some unglamorous job

and work so hard that you can really do what you want

when you're done.

 

I promise,

you'll never  look back and regret it...

you'll only come to regret not trying harder

when it really mattered.

 

xo-

another dreamer

 

Posted on April 3, 2014 and filed under life, work life.