Posts filed under work

AK Girls Trip 2018 | The Highs & The... Even More Highs

AfterlightImage-9.jpg

I wanted to do a big year in review post like I used to do (I even rainbow-color-coded them! Oh the luxury of spare time!), but when it came down to doing it… all I keep wanting to talk about is the Girls Trip we did in December. Not that the rest of my year was meaningless - it was actually amazing- but the trip we took in December was so incredible to me.

The whole idea of the week was get people together that wanted to make new friendships and have a lot of fun together. And when the actual week arrived, I (nervously!) showed up to meet 31 other women who had, almost all, flown across the ocean for this trip. I felt so embarrassed and shy- just having everyone there was such an overwhelming compliment. But once we started talking, any awkwardness I was feeling was gone and the party had started. 

AfterlightImage-3.jpg

We spent the week adventuring around the Cotswolds, sleeping like princesses in the poshest manors & hotels, chatting and watching British holiday chick flicks as we drove around in a giant private coach, cozying up together and playing stupid games in pubs in York, closing down restaurants after dinners and making so many great memories. Everyone on the trip had a place- regardless of how different we might have been. We connected with people that came from where we did. We make friends with others who were in similar life stages. We just…. Well, we just all got along because it was a stress-free week doing awesome things with nice people.

AfterlightImage-4.jpg
AfterlightImage-7.jpg
AfterlightImage-8.jpg
AfterlightImage-10.jpg

So many people have written and asked if I plan to do another trip next Christmas. I hope so! I’m just taking these trips one at a time. If people are eager to come, I’ll keep doing them. I price them as cheap as I can do make it affordable for anyone that wants to come… though the price is built for comfort. We kinda live like royalty on those trips, because I think that is what a vacation should feel like. So the answer is, I’m doing the summer girls trip and the couples trip. Beyond that, I don’t know. I’m just enjoying this for what it is now.

But the dream? Well the dream would be to have both all three of these as yearly staples. Not only for people that want to come, but I’d love for it to be repeat people that come back year after year. How fun would it be to have your little group of people that you have a standing date with every year? I love traditions and I love the idea of that. So that is the dream I have. We’ll have to see how it goes… but I just have to tell you, if they all continue on like the first, I’m gonna feel pretty lucky.

But now on to the good stuff…. More pictures.

AfterlightImage-5.jpg
AfterlightImage-2.jpg

I mean, look at all of these happy people.

AfterlightImage-6.jpg
AfterlightImage-1.jpg
AfterlightImage.jpg

Come on and be one of them. Join the Southern France trip that we are doing this summer from June 15-21. All you have to do is meet us in Paris and we have the rest figured out. It’s going to be amazing, and I could sell you on the logistics of why… but the truth is, its going to be amazing because of the people. This community has nice/fun/lovely women that are behind it and being a part of it in person is too good to miss!

If you went on the trip, go ahead and sign the virtual yearbook below in the comments section. I want to hear the best moment of the trip for you and, duh, the best thing you ate!



*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on January 21, 2019 and filed under england, travel, trips, work.

My Paris | A Private Tour of Versailles

 

You know that feeling you have when you're traveling and you stumble across some place new... there's a sense of excitement that pulses through you and, if you're like me, you feel like you need to start running, or finding the best restaurant or peeking into real estate offices to begin your new life here.

I love that feeling, and it wasn't until I found myself wandering through the city of Versailles last week that I felt it again for the first time in a long time. To my surprise, the feeling came back and I realised how long it had been since I felt this incredible feeling of the unknown. Most of the places we go to are familiar... like the feeling of seeing an old friend. It's a happy feeling, but a very comfortable feeling.

Anyway, I was in Versailles and we ended up walking 10 minutes past the Chateau and into the heart of town. There was a huge daily market and gorgeous cafes and streets. I couldn't believe I had been to this town so many times and, yet, actually had never seen the cute town here.

But I didn't realise the new view of Versailles had only just begun...

IMG_9472.JPG

VISITE PRESTIGE | VERSAILLE'S PRIVATE TOUR OF THE KING & QUEENS APARTMENTS

Okay, so there's a visit to Versailles and then there is THIS VISIT. I was traveling with a private group of clients and they jumped at the opportunity to splurge when I suggested this private tour of the king and queen's private apartments inside Versailles. I had never been on it before, but knew that a guided tour was a must- as the standard lines are just horrific; however, I had my socks officially knocked off by this incredible experience.

IMG_9468.JPG

The tour consisted of a private tour through the closed doors of Versailles. We had a docent walk through with us and a second person who carried the ancient keys to unlock the doors and open the shutters inside these dark, closed-off rooms.

You're walked into Marie Antoinette's bedroom where she would hang out with her friends during the day getting dressed and relaxing in between court appearances, you see the bathroom of Louis XIV and the spot where he took his baths and had his face shaved every morning. You see the fluffy bed inside Madame du Barry's apartments... whee the king would come down to visit his beloved mistress. 

You sit in the private opera house to discuss details with the guide, you wander around hidden stair cases and dawdle through empty corridors. 

You are lead and given access to places that you can only imagine. Away from the hustle and formality of the state rooms where events were held, you get to wander through the quiet spaces where they actually lived the meaningful moments of their lives.

IMG_9471.JPG
IMG_9467.JPG

Meanwhile, we never saw another human during the entire two hour tour. We almost began to see the palace as our own... until it ended and found ourselves in the middle of the hoards of tourists. We quickly felt ruined by our incredibly posh beginning so rushed through to the gardens.

Oh man, what an experience. Definitely not the cheapest way to visit Versailles (the tour is €1000 and can include up to 20 guests); however, for a special occasion or a larger group it is an incredible opportunity to see Versailles in such a special way.

IMG_9469.JPG

And if you don't get that butterfly-travel-excitment from this day out in Versailles, well, I don't know what to tell you. 

 


Looking for help on a day-trip to Versailles from Paris? I've made it easy in my Daytrip to Versailles post here. Find more of my Paris favourites in my travel guide to Paris.

 



 

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

 

My On-The-Go Beauty Routine

Growing up, my mom always did her makeup in the car. I can imagine her in the passenger seat doing her makeup at the stoplights on the way to church a hundred times over. I always thought that’s just what moms did… and then when I got older and would toss on some makeup at every red light, my friends would laugh. I soon realised this as quirk that I had inherited from growing up with my mom, and, naturally, carried on with the oddity as second nature.

But now that I’m a mom, I totally get it. Who has time to do their makeup when you are getting kids ready, too? It’s just nuts, so doing my makeup on the fly makes perfect sense for me now.

Since I never have time to actually do my makeup at home, I do it en route. On the tube. In an uber. At my desk when I arrive. It takes 5 minutes, but it is something I just like to make sure that I do at some point before the day kicks off officially. It makes me feel better, and, with my squinty eyes, makes me look awake.

I keep it all in a little pouch that travels between various totes and bags I use, but inside are the staples that I use on a daily basis for my makeup. Curious to take a peek inside? I always am! I love finding new beauty items and tricks of my friends or bloggers I follow, so I hope that you may find something in my routine that can help you!

ONE | TWO | THREE | FOUR | FIVE | SIX | SEVEN | EIGHT | NINE | TEN | ELEVEN | TWELVE | THIRTEEN

I thought it would be easiest to give a brief explanation for each of the items I use so that you can know just what makes it extra special… or, for a few of them, what makes them not very special. Ha! 

BEAUTY PRODUCTS:

JIGSAW LEATHER POUCH: I searched high & low for a pretty, sleek makeup bag that could travel with me. Everything I found was either covered in stupid phrases like “Born Fabulous” written in glitter or super chic and entirely out of my price range. I had nearly given up until I stumbled upon these PERFECT bags from Jigsaw. I’m pretty sure they are sold as little clutches, but I love using mine for my makeup. I also have a smaller plain black leather version of this that I use for my cards. Getting them both for under £80 was a great value, and I seriously still love them every time I see them. They were *just* what I was needing.

FACE

NARS BLUSH, DEEP THROAT:  After many years of resisting blush, I finally caved about a year ago. Why had I hated this idea so much? Not sure, but a little bit of pink helps me out a lot and gives my face a bit of definition that I enjoy.

LAURA MERCIER BLUSH BRUSH: I’m not sure if this is technically a blush brush? I bought it years ago, and can’t remember what the name of it is… but it works great and is small without being too dinky. (You need a hefty brush for blush, in my humble opinion.) I don’t see the one I have, but this one they sell now is pretty close.

EYES

YSL TOUCHE ÉCLATIn my twenties, I had some older lady that did our company’s PR. I remember one day talking about how much I loved the smell of YSL mascara, and she mentioned that she lived by Touche Éclat. I replied I didn’t know what that was and she nearly died. Ha! Its been nearly a decade and still remember the horror in her eyes. Well, ten years later and I get why she loved it. It hides dark circles and brightens up your eyes really well.

MASCARA: This mascara is just a basic L'Oreal purchase from Boots, and I, honestly, think most mascara is the same as any other. I do like this one because one side of it has a magnified mirror which makes it easy to do on the fly. But if I have my pick (and pocket money to spare), I always go with YSL mascara. It’s sooooo good. (And smells divine!)

LAURA MERCIER EYE PALETTE: I love Laura Mercier, and have worn it since I was 15…. Which probably makes me an old lady. I don’t know, but she just makes some really smart products. I really like her eye shadow palettes because the colours are all so useable. I also use these colours for my eyebrows sometimes, too.

EYELINER: I think most stick eyeliners are the same, and the particular one I’m using now is no exception. The only reason I won’t recommend it is because the lid will absolutely NOT stay on and every time I go to grab it, it has a broken tip. I have used this Chanel one before and it was consistently good.

BOURJOIS EYEBROW PALETTE: To be honest, I accidentally bought the blonde kit when I grabbed this, but it actually kinda works on days when I want to play down my makeup, and I love the little waxy stuff to keep my brows in place. Plus, the under-brow highlighter looks so good!

LIPS

NIVEA TINTED CHAPSTICK: This chapstick makes my lips feel great and has a pretty pearly colour to it. It has been part of my makeup bag for years because it can dress me up a bit even if it's the only item I get put on.

LOREAL LIP GLOSS: This colour is so simple and pretty, plus it smells good and the applicator is funky and fun to use. Another item that I’ve used for a few years now.

BOURJOIS RED VELVET LIPSTAIN: When I just can’t get it together, this red lipstick can help my disheveled state look intentional. I get loads of compliments on it and it lasts for hours and hours, which means I can put it on and totally forget about it.

MISCELLANEOUS

NEALS YARD TIRED EYES & LIPS SERUM: My friend, Vanessa, gave this to me as a baby gift after Edie was born, and I really like it. Plus, it’s organic and nasty-free… which is becoming increasingly important to me.

LAURA MERCIER TWEEZERS: I love, love, love these tweezers. The little round part makes the grip so good, and if I ever loan them out to anyone, I watch them like a hawk to make sure I get them back. They are SO good. I’m not sure if it’s the angled tip, the rounded pincher part, or the hefty weight of them- but together they make a force that not even the most illusive of tiny eyebrows can hide from.

FLOSS: I try to keep floss around for boring taxi rides and random bits of time where I have nothing better to do when I’m out. Ha! It’s the only time it’ll get done… but don’t worry, I try to do it when no one else is around. 



Posted on November 27, 2017 and filed under shopping, what to pack, work.

Having an Au Pair - A Vlog!

Well, here we go. Life and work have officially merged with the start of a new semester. I make a weekly grocery order that coordinates with a color-coordinated google doc of our weekly schedule with everyone person in a different colour, where they will be doing what at what hour, and then all the meals we will eat for the day prescribed days in advance. 

I wake up, read the sheet like a script and go!

Tyler and I are juggling a busy schedule and trying to keep things as normal and steady as we can at home for the kids. 

It’s not easy, but we’re doing it.

As I mentioned earlier, we have an au pair who helps keep us functioning in those moments when our schedules totally clash or there’s not a way for either of us to be at home. We do our best to take and pickup Viola from school and have one of us at home with Harrison as much as we can during the day, but… we both work and that’s not always something that we can pull off.

Luckily, we have a sweet au pair that is kind and so helpful! Since so many of my friends were so new to the idea of an au pair (and hey, I was, too, before we hired one!), I thought it would be helpful to do a vlog where I could answer questions people may have about the whole process. People submitted some great questions and I’ve got the final video now up. Be warned: It’s not one of my shorter videos… but then again, there were a lot of questions people asked! The questions ranged from standard “Do you have to cook for them?” all the way to “Can I walk around naked if they live with us?” Ha! And I get vomited on in the video, so, you know… it just took some time to get all the essential moments in the final cut,

Anyway, you can check it out below. (Or here, if you’re on a device that won’t show the video directly.)

AUPAIRWORLD.COM | This is the website we found our au pair through. It takes time, but you can avoid agency fees by interviewing and contacting candidates yourself. (Image e-harmony… but for au pairs and families. You shop their profiles, they shop yours.)

AUPAIRAMERICA.COM | If you live in the US, this is a reputable company that can help connect you to potential au pairs and offer additional services to make the process easier.


Did you like the baby vomit? No homemade video is complete without some. (That’s what I’m telling myself, at least.) Still feeling curious? Please leave any other comments or questions below and I’ll do my best to follow up in the comments!


FOLLOW ASPIRING KENNEDY ON BLOGLOVIN


*images and video original to Aspiring Kennedy

Postcards from Paris

Apparently, I have a thing for Paris this week. I guess sitting traveling between Oklahoma, Arkansas & Texas can leave a girl dreaming of more exotic locals.

Go figure.

As fun as Paris was this spring, my trip there in the July weather reminded that the beloved city of lights is best enjoyed in actual sunlight. C'est magnifique!

{Editor's Notes: Find my travel guide to Paris here.}

taking my souvenir drivers for a spin around the tuileries.

first course at the amazingly cosy Le Coupe Chou

I'm packing up my bags and saying my goodbye before returning back to the UK from our trip to the States. It's always a bittersweet time as you say goodbye to so many people you love and head back to your new normal. The pro's & con's of life as an expat!

 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Posted on August 20, 2012 and filed under "Paris", france, work.