MexiGO.

 

Well, well, well. Mr. Knight surprised me with a30th birthday trip to Mexico that we left for early yesterday morning. Typically, getting up at 4:30am is something I would avoid at all costs, but the idea of a last-minute (to me!) escape to the sun for the first vacation alone with Tyler since Viola was born... well, had me feeling that it will be more than worth it!

We arrived at the Hyatt Zilara in Cancun and were snacking on some guacamole and drinks overlooking the gorgeous ocean within minutes. So far, we've laid on the bit a beach, read books, walked the beach.... and watched a ton of movies on Netflix. We're doing just fine here.

Even though the trip was a last-minute surprise, it was really easy to toss a bag together because my beach style doesn't really change. I've got a timeless lineup for the beach that I've been using for years. (Because if you're like me, you'll only use them for a week or two max each year.)

Tomorrow, we are indulging in our inner-eighty year old and heading out to the ruins at Chichen Itza & swimming in the gorgeous grotto waters of Ik Kil... because what's a relaxing trip to the beach without adding in a 12 hour day trip?

 

Have you been to Cancun before? Any great things to do or eat or see? We are first timers, so all recommendations are welcome!

Posted on August 20, 2014 and filed under travel, mexico.

Making It Up.


I turned 30 on Monday. (Oof.) In light of the monumental birthday, I was given some money to spend at Nordstroms. I made a date of it yesterday afternoon and casually flicked through the racks. I struck out big time. I thought about splurging and buying some cute shirt at full retail price, rather than scouring the sales racks per usual.

Then I realized something really important: I didn't need new clothes. But I did need new makeup. My current makeup bag has dwindled to broken eyeliner pencils and lipgloss tubes so empty that I fear breaking the wand when I swivel it around the edges. I open my compact with a steady hand in hopes that the busted powder within doesn't spill onto my clothes. My beauty routine has evolved into something verging on shameful.

Upon realizing this, I kissed the Marc Jacobs sweater in my hands goodbye and headed downstairs for the beauty department. When I got there, I didn't hold back. I restocked on the makeup that I really love. Instead of patching up my bag with drugstore purchases, I went for it. I used up all of my birthday money in a matter of minutes, but I'm already feeling great about putting my money towards this often neglected area of my life.

So here they are. The pieces that made the cut. The pieces that belong in the makeup bag of a woman in her thirties. (And the pieces that I'm going to be way too poor to replace when they run out.)

LAURA MERCIER TINTED MOISTURIZER | I've been using this for years. The tinted moisturizers blends into skin perfectly and lays the perfect foundation for the rest of your makeup.

LAURA MERCIER MINERAL POWDER SPF 15 | After using Susan Posnick's ColorFLO mineral foundation, I don't think I can ever go back to non-mineral powder. Not only is the coverage perfect, but I love the natural SPF provided by mineral makeup.

CHANEL VITALUMIERE AQUA SPF 15 | This makeup is the lightest and easiest makeup to apply. Forget gunky. Think lightweight. Plus, you get to feel fancy because Chanel cosmetics always have the best packaging.

YVES SAINT LAURENT "VOLUME EFFET FAUX CLIS" MASCARA | This is my favorite mascara. Not only will you eyelashes look great, but the mascara smells fabulous. I also love that it doesn't dry up until you're at the end of the tube. It's more expensive than Maybeline, but you get your money's worth.

CHANEL LEVRES SCINTILLANTES, 164 PLAISIR | Chanel's lipgloss is a great combination of smooth texture + great color. I always opt for their transparent shades. They just add a tint of color and a gloss that doesn't quickly leave.

LAURA MERCIER BROW DEFINER + BRUSH | I'm learning that brows are kind of a big deal. I've tried to ignore them for the first 30 years of my life, but I'm taking the leap into "brow maintenance." Wish me luck. Tips are appreciated.

 


 

What are the "musts" in your beauty bag? What items am I missing- many, I'm sure!

 

 

*image via

Posted on August 14, 2014 and filed under beauty.

The Hundred Best Things

 

As you probably saw if you follow me on an Instagram or elsewhere, The Hundred came to Dallas this weekend. Sorry if you've seen enough about it, but I can't help myself from sharing about it here, because, well, it was just SO great. 

I feel thankful that people took a chance and flew in from all over the country (and from England!) to attend. I feel relieved that everything came together and that the group clicked so well. I feel inspired by the people in the blogging community- there are so many kind hearts and smart people out there. And, I also feel tired. That was a lot of work!

Over the past year, I have had to post less on my blog because the rest of life demands my attention. Giving up precious hours this summer with my family was a big sacrifice for me, but I really feel strongly about making the internet a place that people can connect in a way that transcends just being online.  My thought is: If it's not actually making real relationships, what's the point? This event was a way for me to put my (non-existent) money where my mouth is.

I could probably list off 100 actual great things from the weekend, but who has time for that? So, I've whittled it down to 25. Here we go.

 


 

ONE | The Hundred Hosts: Megan, Grace & Bridget. I've blogged/known these ladies for years. I had never met them in person, but when we finally met, it was like we had been hanging out in person for years. They are smart ladies and great friends. We had FUN doing this together.

TWO | JOULES. I guess I thought that everyone knew about this British brand, but I soon realized that they are still new to America. They won us over big time with their gorgeous clothes, adorable accents and, of course, the free wellies and tote bags gifted to all the attendees! (They gifted us with those lovely dresses, too!)

THREE | Meeting so many people that I've only "known" from social media handles and profile pictures. I  love when online people become real-life friends. (That's the whole point of blogging for me!)

FOUR | Walking into our room at the Warwick Melrose and finding a Love Ophelia robe waiting for me. (I'm wearing it as I type.)

FIVE | Breadwinner's banana bread french toast on Saturday morning. Oh baby.

SIX | How Birch and Brass Rentals made our Farewell Brunch on Sunday so gorgeous.

SEVEN | Meg-Made balloons that were used at the Farewell Brunch for guests popped. When they did, confetti and a number fell out for them to choose a gift to take home with them! (Think Geronimo Balloons... but affordable.)

EIGHT | Peacock Alley + MILIEU hosted a dreamy block party for us on Saturday evening in the Design District. Food trucks and fine linens collide.

NINE | Watching people listen to our speakers with their mouths open as their pens scurried to keep notes. We hit the jackpot.  I honestly am not sure how we will be able to line up this caliber of speakers for future events.

This particular panel was on social media with talented people like BUNGALOW MAG, PULP Designs, Lily Jade & Casey Wiegand

TEN | That s'mores calzone from Cane Rosso at Saturday's lunch.

ELEVEN | Cake Walk's gorgeous cakes for the Sunday brunch: confetti, strawberry & pistachio. Almost too pretty to eat, but not really. I tried all three.

 TWELVE | The truck bed photo booth at Peacock Alley's block party.

THIRTEEN | Minted donated menus for Friday evening and Sunday's brunch. They were so easy to make, the quality was flawless and they just made the tables look so pretty. Their work is rocking the paper world. 

FOURTEEN | Kendi Skeen of KENDI EVERYDAY was our keynote speaker on Friday evening. She is articulate, smart, kind and lives above a lot of the nonsense of the internet. Plus, the girl is FUNNY.

FIFTEEN | Having brunch in a turn of the century mansion on Swiss Avenue was pretty dreamy. The Aldredge House was a perfect way to end a weekend like this.

SIXTEEN | Getting to spend the day with Grace before the conference. Okay, this one technically doesn't count- but it was so nice to hang out eating good food and chatting in person. She's a good egg.

SEVENTEEN | Everyone staying up way too late in the hotel lobby and having fun together every night after dinner.

EIGHTEEN | Working with Casey Wiegand in a prop-styling session on Saturday. That girl does not have a mean bone in her body, and she can whip up a killer iPhone picture out of the most random of items.

NINETEEN | Watching people get spoiled with amazing food, big gifts and first-class venues... and all at a ticket price of $260. We tried to pour back people's money into the event. We loved getting to give them such a top-rate time.

TWENTY | Steel City Pops at the Peacock Alley Block Party. Buttermilk for me, but next time I'm getting the blood orange. 

TWENTY ONE | Dressing up in cute clothes from Joules, Dilettante Collection and Bella Luxx for the fashion styling session in the Penthouse suite.... and forcing Kendi & Grace to take obnoxious pictures with me.

TWENTY TWO | Letting the attendees meander through the amazing room of gifts and choose an item to keep for themselves. (Big THANKS to all those who donated. To name a few: Maison Miru, Tech Armor, Knotty Tots, Sonnet James, Laura Ashley, Lulu & Georgia, West Elm, Jennifer Ann Style, White Plum & Artifact Uprising.)

TWENTY THREE | Tracking #thehundredevent hashtag during the weekend. :) It was so fun to lay in bed at night and see other people's perspective on the day.

TWENTY FOUR | Spending my first nights away from Viola. It felt awesome to have some alone time at the end of each day with Tyler. It's nice to feel the same connection that we had before kids still is there. 

TWENTY FIVE |  Having people ask us if we were "going to have another Hundred?" We think so! It's so much work without any monetary reward, but... at the end of the day, we are suckers for the nice people of the blogging world... so, yeah, probably. :)

 

*all images by Paige Budde for The Hundred.

Posted on August 13, 2014 .

The Lovely Drawer | Summer Risotto


pea_mint_and_feta_risotto_aspiring_kennedy_the_lovely_drawer_teri_muncey

 

I love risotto. Immediately after I first fell for this Italian staple, I heard how daunting it was to recreate at home. Even with all the tales of arms falling off from stirring and crunchy failures, I couldn't stop myself from trying to make some for myself. I needed to unlock this mystery so I could eat piles of eat without having to trek to a restaurant. I cringe at paying $15 for a plate of risotto when I know I could make it at home for so much less.

And the first time I made it? Perfect. And every time since then? Perfect, too. It really isn't difficult to make risotto, and this time of the year is the perfect time to stir up a batch. The dish is light, yet it's heartiness lends itself to the cool days of fall soon arriving. I love the refreshing combo of feta, mint & peas for a tangy summer palette.

So go on... add this dish to your weekly lineup. Think of Italy. Or that crazy blogger from London who is still in Texas. Or Teri's gorgeous pictures. Or whatever. Just give it a try. I have a feeling you'll like it.


MINT, PEA & FETA RISOTTO by The Lovely Drawer

I reckon risotto is one of the most flexible dishes that I cook. I've certainly had fun trying out every single flavour combination I can think of and reasonable sure guests have been happy to test each one out along the way. From collective feedback - mainly from my husband - this is my most popular risotto, so I had to share it. It's not tricky at all. It just takes time. Think of the stirring motion as a free arm workout, or as calming and therapeutic like I do. 

SERVES 4 HUNGRY PEOPLE or 6 PEOPLE 

 

TO MAKE

1) Measure roughly 1 litre of boiling water in a jug and then add the stock cube. Stir and set to aside.

 

2) Fry the onion and garlic in a heavy bottomed  pan. You can do this with a drizzle of oil or often a nob of butter makes for a richer taste. Then snip up the pancetta into squares and add to the frying pan along with the chilli flakes and seasoning.

3) When the onion and pancetta are cooked add the arborio rice, coating in the oils and sautee. The rice should begin to look transparent- that's a good sign. On a medium heat add the white wine and allow for the alcohol to cook off whilst stirring constantly.

 

4) When a lot of the moisture has been absorbed into the rice turn the heat down to low and add a ladle of the stock. You will need to keep repeating this every time its been absorbed. The idea is to keep the rice wet as it cooks but not over saturated. Keep on stirring, working the rice as this is what will help to make it extra creamy. The rice should never stick to the pan. Use as much of your stock as you like in this part, until you get it to the right texture.

 

5) Add some of your mint (chopped) to start to get that flavour coming through.

 

6) When the rice is softening and the risotto is starting to look creamy add the frozen peas and stir through continuously. 

 

7) When the rice is very almost cooked through (give it a little taste), crumble in the feta and put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat up to medium and let it bubble for about 2 mins. Then take the lid off, stir through most of the parmesan and take off the heat. 

 

8) Serve immediately with some chopped mint and parmesan on top. I often add a squeeze of lemon to each, too. Oh, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar added to any risotto tastes great in my opinion! 

 

*all images original to Teri Muncey for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 6, 2014 and filed under eat, the lovely drawer.

GIVEAWAY | Anorak Attack.

 

If you go to London parks, you have a good chance of seeing people grazing on picnic spreads spilled over blankets. And in these scenic moments, when you spot a cheery print in the sea of faded blankets and makeshift ground coverings, you've probably spotted the cute British brand, Anorak, in their element.

 

I first fell in love with the Kissing Rabbits print during a picnic with my friend Meg last summer in Hampstead. So when Anorak offered for me to check out their line, I said "Yes!"

 

And they have been sooooo nice for picnics, and popsicles... and any moment that you don't really want to sit on the dirty ground, really.

Also, the Proud Fox sleeping bags! Aren't they adorable? Viola and I spent the early evening "camping out" with some books and s'mores. I couldn't believe how much she loved playing in them, crawling down to the bottom, and cuddling up on the pillow to read. 

I love these pieces and have a feeling they'll be a staple on any outdoorsy outing this family takes for many years to come. 

Now then, who else wants them, too?

 

Enter below for your chance to score

a fox sleeping bags and a rabbit picnic blanket.

 



Winner will be chosen August 2.

Posted on July 30, 2014 and filed under giveaway.