Here And There


Well, I was in London...
but now we're in Texas.

After a few days 
of traveling, jet-lagging, binge eating, and hustling,
we are now
unwinding, getting back to working, and detoxing...

...oh yeah, and blogging.

Nothing too fancy,
but I thought I would brighten your Tuesday
(it is Tuesday right?)
with some things
that have been snagging my attention.

. . .


I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty last night...
Tyler & I both agreed Ben Stiller is getting better looking with age,
however, we disagreed about liking the movie.
(Him = meh. | Me = yay.)

Anyone else love it as much as me?

*

I'm giving my site a facelift 
with the help of the always fabulous, Kelly.

She just does the best site design...
I'm such a big fan.

(Look for the updated, spiffy look soon.)

*

I may be the last girl on the planet 
not to have a Kate Spade cell phone...
but I finally got one (from here)
after my long-standing $5 amazon find busted.

*










I can't believe our babymoon
was over a year ago.

Man, that trip was fun.

Enough fun for this pregnant girl
to forget she was the size of Italy
and waddle around the streets of Venice
 for hours on end
while her legs swelled to the size
of giant salamis...

What I would give 
to be back in that moment...

I think I'd freeze time and just stay there forever.




















*

Baby GAP came out with a Paddington Bear collection.
Be still my beating (or was it bleeding?) wallet.



Also along the
I-need-to-stop-spending-our-clothing-budget-on-baby lines:

I'll blog about them more later
when I host a giveaway for Minnetonka,
but in the meantime- $20 for a pair. 

They even got a "those are ridiculously cute" from Tyler...
who, if you know Tyler, doesn't say those kinds of things
just to make me feel good about my shopping haul.

*

Also, the lady-sized pair is pretty great 
for loafing around the house in...
I already am dreaming of a rainbow of them in my closet.


*

Oh, and speaking of giveaways...
tomorrow, there's going to be one here
for one of my favorite travel bags by Ellington.

Be back later this week for your chance to win.


. . .


And now, 
me and my Costco-sized tub of JIF
are headed to the couch
with an apple, The Sound of Music
and absolutely no shame.

(Okay, fine... a little shame. Stupid detox.)





*images original to Aspiring Kennedy
Posted on January 28, 2014 and filed under "babies", "life", "venice".

French Women Don't Get Facelifts.


Just last week,
Tyler & I were talking about
the wrinkles we've acquired
over the past year.

Whether it's getting older
(hello, 30, I see you, too!),
having a baby,
loosing a baby,
or a combination of them all-
for the first time,
I look in the mirror
and see someone noticeable older
looking back at me.

Tyler & I both poke at 
our random grey hairs
and eye wrinkles
with fascination and shock.

But we don't really mind.

In fact, we both wear them proudly...

Somehow it would feel cheap
to have gone through life
without them...

So, here we sit,
at 31 (him) and nearly 30 (moi).

I've splurged on some fancy skin cream
to slow down the process, 
but at the same time-
it's made me start to think 
about what it means to age
and how I feel about it.

And guess what?

I feel good about it.
I like the idea of being 40... 50... 60-
and not just that,
I like the idea of looking like that, too.

I don't want to always pretend like I'm 21...
or dress like that.

(Somehow I should toss in a not-Forever-21-line,
but I'm lazy and... well, you get the jist anyway.)

As we discussed what it meant
to own our ages,
I told Tyler I'll be happy to be 40...
"but a French forty."

Because somehow French women act their age
while also looking completely relevant & attractive.

So with this topic on my mind,
I was really excited to see
that this book is out.
















This is the sequel to the famous
"Why French Women Don't Get Fat,"
Mireille Guiliano wrote a new book addressing 
how women in France
balance ageing and beauty.

While I'm not committing
to 100% of everything Giuliano says,
I think there is something really beautiful
(and normal!)
about owning your age.

(Book available here.)

*  *  *

Here are some highlights from the book
(via InStyle's clever review)
to give you a taste:


1. See the “you” now.
In order to “manage your aging,” Guiliano says it’s important to see yourself as you truly are now– on the inside and outside. Instead of living in the past and seeing the younger (and probably slimmer) you, Guiliano advises women to “stop kidding themselves” and starting seeing the you now.
In her signature tell-it-like-it-is tone, Guiliano writes: “Realistically projecting, assessing the options, then shaping what we can and should be doing during the various later stages of life’s road is the powerful mental medicine that can cure some of our ills and enhance our pleasures through life.”
“Certainly in France, a woman in her forties and fifties is still alluring and seen as an object of desire and acts the part. She feels it and acts it, but doesn’t pretend she is ageless.”
2. Think like a French woman.
What we really love about French Women Don’t Get Facelifts is Guiliano’s ability to make aging gracefully seem fun and easy. It’s clear that Guiliano enjoys life and living it to the fullest. In her book, she encourages women to do the same by adopting a French woman’s attitude. She writes: “And French women, if they are anything, are individualistic in how they present themselves. Their outer package is infused with inner style and beauty and an ‘I don’t give a damn posture (which half the time they don’t, but they still dress to buy the morning’s baguette).’”
3. A little goes a long way. 
Throughout Guiliano’s book, she reminds us of the ineffectiveness of crash-dieting and extreme cosmetic procedures, such as facelifts. In a why-torture-yourself tone, Guiliano talks about the importance of daily activity that’s not necessarily strenuous, the power of a great haircut, dressing your age, having the right shoes, and other lifestyle adjustments to make as you grow older.
“Through your decades you can evolve with the times without losing your established identity,” she writes. “You can refresh your brand without going for a complete makeover and attempting to become some new person. That’s a bit like a crash diet, and such diets don’t work.”
4. Listen to your body. 
Guiliano also stresses the importance of recognizing the “five-pound alert.” She says that if you don’t take action after gaining five pounds, then you will just keep gaining and it will become harder to lose the weight. Guiliano’s secret to maintaining consistent numbers on the scale lies in her dietary choices. In one chapter called, “An Anti-Aging Food Prescription,” Guiliano includes 15 recipes that she says have been part of her nutritional plan since her fifties, and some recipes since much earlier.
 5. Attitude is key.
At the end of the day, Guiliano believes attitude is most effective in appearing and feeling younger. Referring to attitude as a “magic pill” to looking younger, Guiliano says French women approach aging with a different mindset than women from most cultures, and that is what makes the difference – not grooming, clothing, nutrition or face and skin care. It is attitude, she says.
And along with this anti-aging attitude come two elements that save us in life. Guiliano writes: “…according to Indian journalist and novelist Tarun J. Tejpal, [they are] love and laughter. If you have one of the two, all is well. If you have both, you are invincible. Now there’s an attitude.”





Posted on January 20, 2014 and filed under "France", "beauty", "books".

Ring A Ding: Cell Phones & Traveling Abroad




Most people are confused & intimidated
by traveling abroad with a cell phone.

I get it, 
it's a bit confusing 
and the cost of doing it wrong
can be extremely expensive.

Here's are you two basic options:

You can either work out an international plan 
with your US provider to use your phone in Europe,
or you can buy on here and get a local number.

I would recommend using an international plan 
for anyone traveling under 2 weeks
and who will be staying in hotels.

If you're planning on a longer stay
and having an apartment
(or place to stay without a concierge to make your reservations for you),
I'd recommend buying a cheap prepaid phone upon arrival.


_______________


PROS ON BUYING A PHONE ABROAD

You won't get a surprise phone bill of a gazillion dollars when you get home.
Roaming in Ravenna? Data-charges in Denmark?
It's the quickest way to bleed cash that I know of…
take it from me.

I had no clue I was "roaming" when I backpacked for 5 weeks in college.

A month later, a cell phone bill over $2000 appeared in my mail box.

Your incoming calls are free- even if they are international calls.
Have old mommy dear call your new phone on Skype and it's super cheap.

You can book things easier here with a local number. 
Cab companies and restaurants won't accept international (read: US) numbers for reservations.

They are cheap and easy to put credit on.
Walk into a earphone warehouse and buy one for about £5.
You can add as much credit on it as you like.
I would guess £10 a week would be plenty for local texts & calls.
You can top up at anytime from most grocery stores or newsagents.


________________


CONS ON BUYING A PHONE ABROAD

You probably won't get to have data,
since most of the "pay-as-you-go" phones are super basic.
You'll have to get email and Facebook when you get back to your laptop.

Unless they are Skype savvy or your parents,
you probably won't get a lot of calls from your friends.
People get so confused with how to dial international numbers.

Your current US plan will go unused in the meantime
and will still cost your monthly fee.

* * *

How to Dial an UK Telephone Number

Let's say that this is the number you've been given.

+44 (0)7500 806 655

Here's how you would dial it 
LOCALLY IN THE UK:

07500 806 655

Simple.
 Just drop the country code
and start with "0."

____________


Here's how your mom would dial it 
INTERNATIONALLY FROM THE US:

011 44 7500 806 655

____________

Here's how you would dial it 
ON A CELL PHONE FROM THE US
(in or out of the UK):

+44 7500 806 655

(hold down the "0" to add the + sign at the beginning)

___________


Welp, that's all I have to say on this subject.

Have a nice day.

Okay.

Bye.

(click.)




*image via

Posted on January 17, 2014 and filed under "travel tips".

Girls will be Girls.



Though the settings may change
as life evolves and moves on,
the ridiculous female shenanigans continue.

I think we all shake our heads
and "mmmm hmmmm" when we hear such talk...

But it's still happening.

So can we all make a promise:

Can we, as ladies,
just believe that people are doing
 the best that they can
and to take things for face value.

I think it would do the world some good.










How do you deal with girl drama?

Confront it & nip it in the bud?
Or ignore it and hope it goes away?


(Me? I think there is a time and place for both responses.)


*    *    *

While you're dreaming up a response,
here are some cute picks
that I hope every girl can agree on...





Posted on January 16, 2014 and filed under "blog world", "friends", "life".

England is Great. Immigration is Awful.











Everyone do a little happy dance
in your sticky public transport seat on your commute,
or from your perch on the living room sofa,
or your creaky desk chair in your cubicle...
or wherever else you may be
as you read this...


Because after six weeks of the UKBA
(read: UK Border Agency)
loosing our birth certificates, marriage certificates, 
social security cards, residence cards, tax documents...
and, oh yeah, our passports-
they have finally been found
and delivered back to us!


And all you Americans
can also join me
 for a little added twirl
celebrating the special fact
that as of this weekend
 this trio will be on your continent
for a brief little tour of duty
before our Paris days begin.


.   .   .


Or comment below with the most awesome thing
that's happened to you this week
for a chance to (easily) top mine.






*photo by noah darnell for aspiring kennedy

Posted on January 15, 2014 and filed under "England", "expat", "life".