Letting You In On The Secret...

It's with full heart (and a growing belly) that I'm happy to share with you that we are expecting a baby!

We know the irreplaceable spot that a child can leave on your life... and we eagerly look forward to making more room in our heart for the baby arriving later this spring. 

 

So how have I been feeling? Well, while most people will tell you of morning sickness and fatigue- my mind immediately responds to that question differently. 

I can't pretend to be braver than I am. The first trimester was full of anxiety, scary dreams and the looming "What ifs?" that chase you down in the quiet moments... but the day we saw our baby in that first scan, those dark feelings quickly shifted into into something I'd nearly forgotten could accompany pregnancy: love!

After seeing that baby, the one that has the same frog legs, scrawny butt cheeks and Berenstein Bear-esque profile that their sisters had, we fell hard for the sweet life that is being made. We were reminded that it was OUR baby... and suddenly, the fear of what could happen was covered by the hope of what will happen.

Thanks for sharing in the joy of this new life with us.... and tomorrow, I'll be back to share the rest of the details!



Also.... I'm slowly crossing into maternity clothes. It is totally a pride issue at this point, but, man, it does feel good to not wrestle with the discomfort of my normal waistbands. 

Thanks to the darling French company, Emoi Emoi for giving options that don't leave me feeling frumpy. It's a hard thing to achieve while pregnant, but this dress makes me feel great. (Of course, the French can make even pregnancy feel sexy. How do they do it?)

 

 

*images by the endlessly talented (and sweet!) Robyn Thompson

*dress c/o Emoi Emoi

 

Posted on January 22, 2015 and filed under babies, life, kids, pregnancy.

6 Travel Resources You'll Love For Europe

 

While January brings a lot of things (diets! terrible weather! sickness! new starts!), for me it brings in endless travel consults. It's January and summer travel is on the horizon. It is so fun talking through trips with people- I love getting to help people choose from the endless options that await them and guiding them as they craft a trip that is tailored to them exactly. I love it! 

I thought it'd be helpful to send a few of the resources that I really love and use to you, in case you find yourself in the same boat. (And if you are planning a trip to Europe- well, lucky you!)

 



JAMES VILLAS: After our trip to France in December, I'm a huge fan of James Villas. The company offers great service, their "inventory" of properties gives you great options regardless of budget. Regardless of if you're looking for a luxury villa (like this one!) or a cost effective way to travel with a family or group- James Villas has so many good options. 

We loved our time in Provence, and I can't wait to try out other properties of theirs in the future.... I am currently dreaming of Greek sunshine and late dinners along the Spanish coast.

*Note: Property rentals through James Villas work on a weekly basis, so it's not a great fit if you're wanting to hop quickly through destinations. The value here comes from limited travel, enjoying cooking at the house and the cost savings of not having to pay for additional hotel rooms for friends/children traveling with you.

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GO EURO: This site is my go-to for checking the cheapest/best/fastest way to get between destinations in Europe. The main search tool has three tabs- flight, bus, and train. You can click through the tabs to see how expensive and how long each of the options will take. 

You can also be referred through to purchase the option you like best, even though they bring in options from every company out there. It's a great resource!

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LUXURY LINK: If you are looking for the best bang for your buck, Luxury Link offers fabulous packages and deals for the same price (or lower!) than you can typically find through other websites. We've got some really inexpensive deals through the site that have included nice perks upon our stay like massages, dining credits, and treats in your room upon arrival. 

Use this link and you'll get $50 off your first stay, and I'll get credit for our next stay. Maybe we can toast our travels poolside. :)

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RAILEUROPE: I love this site for a more extensive searches when planning rail travel. I also like it because, most of the time, you can pre purchase tickets... and since the other rail sites are in local language, this site will automatically be 100x less confusing. 

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TABLET HOTELS: Another favorite place of mine to find great hotels. These offer beautiful boutique hotels that fly a bit under the radar. Truly, it helps us find some great spots that we wouldn't have had been able to find otherwise. 

If you use this referral link, you'll save $25 on you first stay... I promise, you'll be hooked after your first Tablet booking.

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TRIP IT: This site is a great tool for adding and syncing all your travel plans. All you do is forward your email confirmation to "plans@tripit.com" from your email, and it will create a trip with all the details for you. Your plans will have maps, contact details and confirmation numbers all tagged to them.

Plus, their offsite mobile capability makes it easy peasy to use on the go... even without a data plan.



 

Hopefully, these get you off to a good start in planning your vacation.... and when you get stuck, email me for a travel consult. I'm in the zone these days. Let's see what we can do to help make your trip even better. Get more information on travel consults here.

 

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*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

Posted on January 19, 2015 .

Little London: Kensington Palace

I get so many emails from parents asking where they can take their kids in London. Truth be told, I'm not the best at seeking these places out. I just kinda take Viola wherever we go... but I thought I'd try to jot down a few places as I uncover them. And you know, maybe you can share some places you love, too, because... it never hurts to have a spot like that in your back pocket.

Today I met some friends at the Diana Memorial Playground near Kensington Palace. It was an empty day at the park- just the occasional nanny + baby pushing their way into the gates every few minutes... but for the most part, the place was ours for the having. After all, it is a Wednesday in January. May not get more remote than that!

After we had all we could handle of the cold weather, we wanted to go grab coffee or tea somewhere nearby. Amber had never been to the Orangery before, so we were more than happy to oblige her and go!

Now I know what you're thinking: Kensington Palace Orangery is the place to take toddlers? True. It's a beautiful space with china on the tables where people come to splurge on a beautiful afternoon tea. Yes, yes, you're right. But here's the thing: nobody really goes in the mornings.

If you go during their breakfast, the place is relatively empty. Literally, there were two other tables when we walked in with people. And while the tea menu is a bit steep, the breakfast menu is completely reasonable. (I think my yoghurt, granola + berries were £5.95 and juice £2.75?)  Plus, the menu has some really yummy treats on it for Breakfast like waffles with caramel apples and cinnamon cream, eggs benedict, and fresh croissants stuffed with ham and cheddar.

It's a really gorgeous space to go, warm up and not worry that you're baby is bothering anyone when they realize that their spoon can also double as a drumstick. 

The service isn't slow, so you don't have to be stuck there for ages if you don't want to be... and there is some good space between the tables and the walls for the kids to crawl around in after they get tired of sitting while you ignore them and catch up with friends. 

If you can't tell from my repeat visits on Instagram this week, I'm obviously a big fan of the playground + Orangery combination... so don't be surprised if you see us there, too!

 

 

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*images orignal to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 14, 2015 and filed under babies, eat, hot tea, london, kids.

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 .

What Dreams Are Made Of...

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the other good things that I haven't written here over the past two weeks. We got back from the US three days ago. Because of the short amount of time we were in the States, I decided to take some time off from blogging + social media so that I could enjoy the time there. Fun and merriment was had by all... and Mexican food, donuts and all the other forbidden fruits that I shouldn't have been eating were enjoyed. I hope your holidays were full of much of the same!

Since then, we flew back to London, have been dealing with jet lag like nobody's business, and are all three fighting off some nasty cold/throat junk. Viola wakes up so much from coughing after going to bed, and-without fail-dials out a special request just for "Mama!" having me come in and lay by her in long(er than I'd like) intervals.

On about my fourth time to go in there last night, I forgot to bring my phone with me. (Rookie mistake, I know.) So I was forced to lay there in the dark with her with only my own brain to keep me company. As I settled into the quiet, I started to imagine what kind of person she would grow into. I prayed over her and begged God to show grace to her. I watched as her chubby hands pulled my arms close around her body. My mind got to start dreaming about things and for the first time in months, I felt my brain tickling with creativity. 

And I realized how many good moments I'd been missing like those in lieu of the visual graffiti on my social media channels and email. Moments that I've overlooked because I'm reading a completely annoying and forgettable Buzzfeed link or falling down a rabbit hole of bizarre hashtags. After thinking about it for a minute, it made me feel a bit sick to my stomach. Yuck.

So here's to a New Year. I've seen so many post that they are "simplifying" or doing "more of less." I like those ideas. While I'm not sure I can promise a resolution of any sort- though, if I'm honest, it should definitely be quitting sugar- my hope for 2015 I can focus on where I am and do those moments better. Be less diluted and more intentional- in my work and in my relationships with others. Trim the fat. Give more to the people that deserve it. I'm not sure I can physically do more than I've done in the past six months... but I can start by saying "no" more often.

And yes, I'll also need to sever my iPhone from my body. 


 

I loved seeing resolutions posted on my Instagram feed and photo from New Years. It is so refreshing to see people making changing and evaluating what areas in their life they can move away from and do better in.

 Has anyone successfully carried out your resolution 5 days into 2015? If so, snaps for you. ;)

 

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*images original to Aspiring Kennedy by Noah Darnell

Posted on January 5, 2015 and filed under life, kids, blog world.