Channeling my Inner (Julia) Child


It's hard to think of France

and not think of great food.


The two go together 

like jambon + fromage,

like a crepe + nutella,

like steak + frites....


well, you get the idea.


While I've taken my chances

with coq au vin

and the unbreakable quiche,

I would never dare to dabble 

in the realm of the French baked arts.


You have to be born into that skill

and sworn into a secret society of bakers

to learn those skills.


After a couple of hours

at La Cuisine Paris,

I can officially say

that you can be American-born

and make great French pastry.


I'm living proof.


the best part of making choux pastry? no kitchen aid mixer required. i can make it in my tiny london flat!

the best part of making choux pastry? no kitchen aid mixer required. i can make it in my tiny london flat!


And as for learning all the heavily guarded French pastry secrets?


Well, they don't exist.


As my teacher, Diane, told us:

"There are no secrets.

Only techniques."



I'll also add that this 

is a great addition 

to your Paris trip.


It's amazing location right off the Seine

near Hotel De Ville

makes it an easy (and scenic) place to spend an afternoon.

What better souvenir

than the chance to bring

the spoils of a French patisserie

back home with you?

We took the choux pastry class,

but they have loads more to choose from

like macarons, croissants and brioche.



So add a few hours learning a French specialty

 to your next Paris trip...


and send me some of your creations.

(Especially any pistachio flavored ones.)



80 Quai de l'Hotel de Ville

75007 Paris





*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on April 17, 2014 and filed under eat, paris.

Flower Power: Viola Wedding Wear



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.




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. 














*photography via Tamiz Photography


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

Looser Lundi

Today was almost a great day...

until the second half of the day happened.


Teething babies, time cooking dinner that resulted in a nearly inedible result, and then the realization that I made a huge mistake on a private client's trip.


By the time Tyler got home from a diaper run,

I was teary-eyed and over the day.


He's consoled me by turning on Shakespeare in Love, handing me a Magnum Bar

and leaving me to it while Megan chatted me back into a better mood.


Will it all be fine in the morning?


Honestly, not really...

I'll still have a lot of work to re-do, apologies to make,

and a baby with about a million more teeth to cut.


But will it be eventually fine?




And will I someday wish back these crazy days?


Yeah, I think so.


But for today,

let's just say that "Monday"

translates into "hot mess" around the world.


Hold your head up high people,

we've got four days till the weekend.



Posted on April 14, 2014 .

Pack Your Bags: Brussels, Belgium


A few weekends ago,

we hit the road

with my students

for a weekend in Brussels.



The only other time I had been there

was for one night 

when I was backpacking

at the age of 19.


Needless to say,

I was eager to see the city

with different eyes this time.


Brussels is such a great mix,

in my mind,

of Paris and Amsterdam.


There are some luxe swanky moments

that make you feel like you're

strolling around Paris' Rue Rivoli...

and then there is an understated climate

that feels very Amsterdam to me.


It's a great place to spend a weekend,

though if I were to have stayed much longer

I would have wanted to explore outside of the city.


Here's what we did

in case you're shopping for some great things

to add to your itinerary.


Though don't expect great restaurants on this...

we were whipped 

and ordered Dominos to our hotel room one night.


Apparently, the street waffles were enough satisfaction

for our culinary demands during the trip.


(How's that for realistic travel with a baby?)




EU PARLIAMENT: Let's be honest, as Americans we don't know enough about other political systems. This is a great way to get see firsthand how the EU operates an, hey, it's cool, too! Book several weeks in advance to ensure you get a spot.


LAURENT GERBAUD CHOCOLATE CLASS: When in Rome, do as the Romans... and when in Brussels, jump into the chocolate scene. At €35 per person for the course, you'll have a great time engaging in a part of Belgium's famous chocolate industry. Plus, when you take it at Laurent Gerbaud, you'll have the famous chocolatier guides the class himself. He's passionate about his product, he's engaging with each guest... and he's funny, too. 


GRAND PLACE: This is the square in Brussels with all the gorgeous buildings and rooftops. It's full of (overpriced and touristy) restaurants and chocolate shops like Godiva... but you'll want to go and it's fun. In fact, what the heck, I won't even judge you if you ordered a drink in one of those overpriced tourist restaurants- it's such a gorgeous place. 


BELGIUM BREWERS MUSEUM: This is located in the Grand Place and is apparently, really great. You'll have to tell me how it is though- I've actually only been recommended this spot and didn't go. The tour covers the history of brewing in Belgium and offers samples!

MANNEKEN-PIS: This iconic statue has gathered a lot of attention over the years, and I'll think it's pretty hilarious. (But then again, I'm a seventh-grader at heart.) Go see the statue of "the little boy peeing" and check it off your Brussels to-do list.


WAFFLES: It's true. Belgium makes great waffles, but to get the best bite make sure you order the Liege Waffles. They're smaller and thicker... and so much better. You can add toppings to them, too. I recommend Speculoos (aka the stuff Trader Joe's knocked off for their cookie butter), strawberries and almonds. Holy moly. You can thank me later.





ADAGIO ACCESS: We stayed at the Adagio Access, near the Troon metro station, and just a stone's throw from the EU Parliament. It was easy to get to, but required about a 15 minute walk to the Grand Place. What I liked about it was the in-room kitchenette... but what I didn't dig was having to walk so far to get into the tourist hotspots.


LE MERIDIEN: In a perfect world, when I make lots of money- I'll stay here. It's got a great location near the Grand Place and, hey, it's a Le Meridien so it's probably pretty great.



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on April 14, 2014 and filed under travel.

My Paris: L'As du Fallafel


Okay, maybe every single person

who has ever recommended places to eat in Paris

has mentioned Falafel Alley.


Well, I'm no different.


Let me defend the repetition 

I'm about to offer to the blogosphere

with three self-approved reasons:



1. Visitors still haven't tried them or heard of them. Just as it seems everyone has tried a falafel from L'As du Falafel, someone comes to visit that has no clue what I'm talking about. They don't know what a falafel is (my best description is a hush-puppy like fried-ball made of chickpeas + garlic), they don't know that there is a place to get them in Paris, and they don't know which stand to buy from when they go. So, it makes me think that maybe not every corner of the internet has been flooded with the suggestion yet.


2. We eat them all the time. They are literally down the street from our apartment and, man, when I don't want to cook- it's the fastest option we both agree on.


3. I've been preaching this falafel goodness for years. While this might be my first dedicated post, I have mentioned it quite a few times in the past like this time and this other time.





Go to the St. Paul Metro stop, 

exit and walk across the street 

to Rue Pavee.

Walk up the street and go up until you reach

Rue Des Rosiers (aka "Falafel Alley').

Turn left, pass the first few falafel stands

until you reach L'As Du Falafel on your right.

(If you go on a Sunday, it will be the line with about 100 people in it.)



Jump in line,

pay the sketchy men €5.50 for your falafel,

get a ticket in return

and wait your turn

to get up to the window.


(Don't worry, it moves fast.)




Once you get up to window,

hand in your ticket

and wait for your gigantic pita of goodness

to be delivered.


If they asked if you want the "sauce piquant," 

the answer is, "Yes, I do."

It's spicy (though not overly spicy) and delicious.



Drinks are another €2, so either bring your own

or cough up the change there.

We like to wander to Place Des Vosges to eat our

like so many other locals & tourists.

Either way,

you're in for a cheap treat

and I know you'll love it.



L'As Du Falafel is closed Saturday (sabbath) and Friday evenings.


If you visit on one of those tragic moments, 

there will be some other stands open 

that offer almost-as-tasty falafels. 

I like King Falafel.




*       *       *




For more of my Paris recommendations, visit here.





*photography by Noah Darnell

Posted on April 9, 2014 .