A Very Merry UnThanksgiving

It's weird to write about Thanksgiving as someone who has been away from the States for five years during the holiday. I'm starting to look at it as a memory, rather than a holiday. How weird and unAmerican, I know... but I think the lines are currently a bit blurred on where I belong. But with that fuzzy perspective, let's take a quick trip back to Dallas in the 1990s.

I love Thanksgiving. I won't pretend that I am an overly enthusiastic participant in the holiday... more of passive one who has spent much of her life enjoying the day playing with family around our house, while my mom continuously pulls pies out of the oven like a clown car. After everyone starts feeling a bit bored with the parade and tromping around in the backyard, it would be magically time to eat Thanksgiving dinner.

My mom would have pulled out all the stops- homemade everything. A giant turkey. A honey baked ham. A small mountain range of mashed potatoes. Cornbread stuffing made that morning. And our butler's pantry counter lined with the favorite homemade pie of each person there only balanced by the whipped cream mass that could be confused for low sitting clouds.

Inevitably, we'd all go around the table and share something that we were thankful for each year. As a child, I always scrambled for something that sounded deeper than how I felt. What I was thankful for when I was 11? Being sat by my cousin and having an extra cherry pie on the counter. My thankfulness was short-sited, to say the least. 

It's grown over the years to an endless list of things... well more than just things. People, events, thoughtful gestures that have altered situations.. and really, God's kind hand in all the happenings of our lives. 

We won't be celebrating Thanksgiving until Sunday when we have some fellow Texans over for lunch, but I don't want to cheapen the day by some twee hashtag to accompany my gratitude. Life is good. The food we get to enjoy is a great gift of lives that we live in plenty. But most importantly, my heart feels full because God is so kind. 

Enjoy the day, friends. Drink an extra cup of coffee and eat that extra piece of pie. Enjoy the day with those you love for those of us can't be around the table with you today. 

PS. Random photos of us frolicking in front of my childhood home. Pysch. It's Blenheim Palace and an absolute must if you visit Oxford.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 26, 2015 and filed under holiday, life.

The Coziest Christmas Jammies (Giveway!)

Okay, here is a secret. If you're a blogger- you get offered a lot of free stuff. Is that okay to admit? There are so many unspoken rules for blogging etiquette that I don't really know. But, it is my theory, that the good news about unspoken rules is that since they weren't ever announced, you can't get in trouble if you break them.

How the free stuff things works is, at first, so exciting. I used to spend hours taking pictures and writing blog posts for, seriously, $7 bracelet. Most of things that I am offered are cheap and silly stuff that, after a while, is easy to turn down. 

Other stuff is something you need or want, and it gets you to a point of creating a post about some random product that doesn't really fit into your blogging content at all... but you needed new (insert random practical item here) so you sold your blogging soul for a new set of stoneware baking dishes.

But a lot of the times, you're just a sucker for a good story. And so just at the time in blogging when I was saying NO MORE RANDOM STUFF, I got an email from a friend doing a little PR for a new company on children's clothing, Panda & The Sparrow

Now there may be needs that the Knights have, but thanks to Hannah Anderson pjs being sold at Costco, pajamas are not one. So I said thanks, but no thanks.

Then my friend told me a bit more about this company. Two smart women with killer jobs as directors at the hip British brand, Whistles. They're both new moms now making organic clothing for children and starting their own company. Ugh. Heartstrings tugged.

I think replies something along the lines of "Okay. Fine. I'm in. Send me a pair and I'll see what I think when we go to Iceland. No promises though."

Then we went to Iceland... 

And three months later these pajamas are all my kids are wearing. 

I love Panda and The Sparrow because...


1. I love them in matching jammies. It makes bedtime and waking up so cute.


2. They are so soft. After being washed a ton, they are still so comfy for them.


3. I love that they are unisex. I love that Harrison will be able to wear Viola's as he gets bigger. 


4. They are perfect for keeping them cozy and warm... without getting them too hot. Harrison is always so sweaty in pajamas. These sets keep him the perfect temperature all night.

So yeah. I'm addicted to this little line of children's clothing that I didn't know existed a few months ago. Now I love Panda and the Sparrow and have been able to mooch a few extra pieces for the kids. I'm shameless, I know. But here's the cool thing about getting free product: when I really love it, I ask the companies to give some to a reader, too. Lucky for you- the cool ladies at Panda and the Sparrow said yes!

One of you gets the chance to win £120 to spend on this gorgeous line- which is plenty to get a several pairs to match your little ones up... or just kit out one of them in a ton of their stuff. It's awesome. Unsolicited recommendation: I loooove the striped pajamas. They are so good, and at only £20, you can get everyone matching with pieces that can be worn for years!

Entry is simple. Just enter your email and you're entered. A few other bonus entries are available, too, for anyone feeling ambitious.


*Images original to Aspiring Kennedy. Images 1, 2 & 3  by Ashel Parsons


Posted on November 22, 2015 and filed under babies, fashion, kids, shopping.

Edinburrrrrrrgh & St. Andrews

With the way my fall terms are set up, it typically lands us in the Northern UK at the start of the Christmas season and the chilly winter weather that accompanies the holiday.

I love visiting these places in the sunshine of the long summer days when daylight stretches across the day from 3am until midnight... but the dark months here are alluring, too. Dark, windy streets that are void of chatter and whistling windy cries for only you to hear. Cuddling in small family-run cafes over warm drinks and filling treats like crumbly shortbread and warm mince pies. 

Not every moment of our wintery visits are magical (some are just fussy windblown and soggy)... but hey, the pictures could fool you. 


And no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without a day in St. Andrews. And no rainy winter' day in St. Andrews would be complete without a warm afternoon tea at the Old Course Hotel. I prefer tea time to tee time.

A quick walk on the beach to collect some seashells and... result in our socks being completely gritty for the train ride home. Ha! Worth it though.

The best family pics/selfies are going to be for a few years. :) (You should see the others!)

Also, we found a fantastic pizza place in Hunter Square, just off the Royal Mile, called Civerinos. Huge slices of pizza (£4), hot bowls of pasta (£7 at lunch) and a small mountain freshly made Italian donuts complete with Nutella and homemade vanilla whipped cream (£5) were just the right type of food after getting drenched that morning.


Check out my Edinburgh travel page for all our favorites in this special city. Find my St. Andrews suggestions in my Scotland page


*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 21, 2015 and filed under travel, scotland.

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.

Pack Your Bags: Into the Glacier | Iceland

We have an awesome group that we work with to create our annual Iceland trip. They are amazing at getting the details sorted for us so that we can arrive and just... go. This year, though, I was looking for something new. I had been seeing photos that made me want to add a bit more of an adventurous element to the trip. (I know... as if glacial lagoons and superjeeping up snowy summits wasn't enough!) 

We decided we need to add an ice cave to the itinerary. Oh man. Great choice. We went to INTO THE GLACIER, a man made ice cave that is dug straight into a glacier. It's one of the most stunning things I have have ever done. The endless maze of tunnels is lit with colorful LED lights, and the experience is one you'll never forget.


The glacier is located about an hour and half from Reykjavik, to the North.

You'll be driven up on the glacier to the entrance on the biggest machine you'll have ever seen. It's shocking, and it will carry you up to the start from the base of the site.

You'll be given clamps to wear on your feet to give traction to you throughout the caves.

The tunnels are a bit drippy.... wear waterproof shoes to keep your feet dry.

There's a chapel inside the tunnels- and it is awaiting its first wedding. (Can it please be someone who reads this?)




*images by Ashel Parsons for Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on November 12, 2015 and filed under iceland, travel.