Monday Moods: I feel... cheesey.

Valentine's Day is on the retail horizon.

And the new displays of chocolate hearts, pink champagne, & overpriced flowers
are bringing out my sappy side.

Pink, sparkles, sweets, love?

Well, it's basically all my favorite things.


I love my friend, Korena.

In fact, I may be so bold to say:
she might be the cutest person I know.

It came as no surprise
that this invitation she made 
charmed the pants off me.

{Um.... seriously... where are my pants?}

I love living here in Oxford,
but I do hate to miss out on the parties back home.

Because who wouldn't want to go to that?

To A Tea.

Any day that involves a lunch meeting at Fortnum & Mason is a good day.

But when it's on a Friday-
it's even better!

I'll be munching some yummy food
and then will heading on to tea...

I love tea time.

Every little thing about it.

In fact, I even love the name, 
as it politely fails to mention all the sweets & sammies.

The hubs like his black tea iced.
I drink my green tea hot. 

What's your special blend?

All the juicy bits...

Whether you drink your OJ smooth,
or with the added pleasure of "juicy bits"
{as my British friends would say}...

you've gotta love 

is the new collaboration of
 Carolina Gentry & Beth Dotolo {of Hello Splendor}

...and boy, 
is it fresh.

Check out their cool new blog,
and follow them on twitter
 for your daily recommended dose of 
hilarious & inspired design chatter.

photography by: Kevin Dotolo

Aspiring Kennedy's Rorschach Test

What do you see in the picture below?

A beautiful piece of wood?

A piece of modern art?

The face of an old lover?

Because I see....


These are soft, delicious, amazing cheesecake brownies that I made this week.

These bad boys are so rich, 
your trophy-wife self is gonna want to marry them.

Want some?

Here's the recipe!

To Rabbie Burns!

If you had driven through to the Oxfordshire countryside this evening,
you might have passed a cozy house
with a table full of happy people in the window.

Those people might have been having a Robert Burns dinner of 
haggis, neeps, & tatties.
{ "neeps" = turnips / "tatties" = potatoes}

And they would have been having a grand time.

My friend, Ali, put on amazing evening....
complete with a Scottish brogue to welcome the haggis.
and the single malt whiskey at the end of dinner.

Haggis as it turns out....
is kind of tasty.

Next time though,
 I'll be opting for the veggie version made of lentils!

Robert Burns is a famous Scot poet who you might know as 
the author of your favorite song of each new year,
Auld Lang Syne.

I love this version of the song
that I first saw on Sex & The City....

Cheers to Rabbie Burns!
{as the Scots will call him...}

Oxford English Dictionary- Volume 1

Today kicks off a new series:
The Oxford English Dictionary

You'll learn some quaint cultural gems
that are specific to British life,
through my mishaps & daily stumblings
here in Oxford.

There are actually so many new things I've learned...
and if you are an Aspiring Brit,
like myself,
I think you'll find it this series to be
well... brilliant!


A rustic meal that features local daily staples...

Local meats, hunks of cheese, fresh crusty bread,
butter & chutney for spreading,
& a nice serving of fruits & veggies.

Delicious right?

Think of it as the love child of 
a deconstructed sandwich
a less pretentious anti-pasti platter.


It's become such a pub staple, 
that you'll now even see many offerings of the assortment
assembled as a sandwich
in restaurants & cafes...

I'm glad to have learned a fresh alternative
to heavy pies & mash 
or greasy fish & chips!

Monday Moods: I feel... timeless.

I've been going through my pictures from Italy.

And I've realized...
any decade looks good on that place!

the unedited version!

These are all my pictures from this January...
just with a little bit of editing.

For similar looks for your own photos
 try the cool app, Camera Bag

Sunday Blues.

Today we had a baby shower 
for a friend in Oxford.

It was a fun party,
that ended up lasting for hours.

Which, in my opinion, 
means it was a success.

It was held in our friend's house
in the middle of the Oxford Observatory...

which is student housing!

Oh and do you see the bread in the bottom right?

It's a staple at parties for Aussies & Kiwis...
and as this party was hosted by both, 
I got to try it!

It's called Fairy Bread.

{cute, huh?}

Happy Sunday to you!

It's Friday Afternoon...


I can only imagine that you all are as productive as I am.

But who cares...
it's the weekend! 

We have some birthday parties to attend,
some picnics to have {if the weather stays nice}...
& some trip planning to do.

{Eurostar to Paris for £69 round trip? Oui, oui!}

Now it's your turn.

Make me jealous...
what is something lovely you'll be doing?

You look just like her!

I have always looked exactly like... my sister.

Nobody has ever thought I looked like anyone famous-
until suddenly.

I have had so many people say the exact same phrase to me:
"You know who you look like? That girl from Spiderman."

Yeah, I know that girl from Spiderman. It's Kirsten Dunst, silly.

But look like her?

I'd been laughing it off, 
but after the tortilla guy from Chipotle said it to me...
I'm starting to believe it might be true.

Whaddaya think?

{I tried my Durnst-iest to find picture duos that worked... }

I'm not really sure it's a straight match-
but it's kind of a fun game to play!

It seems that most people have a look-a-like paired to them.

Who do people say you look like?

Kirsten Dunst images: 1, 2, 3, 4
Aspiring Kennedy portrait {top right}: Aaron Snow

An Audrey Moment.

"Living is like tearing through a museum. 
Not until later do you really start 
absorbing what you saw, 
thinking about it,
 looking it up in a book, 
and remembering -
because you can't take it in all at once." 

— Audrey Hepburn

With the combined anniversary of Audrey Hepburn's death
and the 50th anniversary of the release of 
Breakfast at Tiffany's
this year,

I find myself having a bit of an Audrey moment today.

Here's one for you, too.

Auntie Em

I love my family.

I really do.

It's huge, it's diverse,
and I have about a billion aunts scurrying about.

We aren't Greek, Latino, or Italian.

Just your average German farming community from Kansas.

{So, yeah, basically nothing like the actual Kennedy family... but that's another story.}

But if I could add one more Aunt to my family tree,
I'd pick Emma Thompson.

Doesn't she just seem to perfectly fit the role of an aunt?

I can just imagine Christmas now:

All of us sitting around the kitchen sipping coffee
while Aunt Emma...

tells us hilarious stories...
{like Elinor Dashwood with her sisters in Sense & Sensibility}

cries strong, feminine tears...
{like when Karen confronts her Sneaky Snape of a husband in Love Actually.}

or listens as we cried our own.
{like she comforts Liam Neeson when his wife dies in Love Actually}

But if I can't settle for having her be blood...

I'll guess I'll just have to settle for being her best friend.

**Did you know Emma is married to Willoughby (Greg Wise) from Sense & Sensibility?**

This is cute, right?

It's a one page calendar 
that's simple, colorful, fresh, and... free.

And the best part-
It's free!

{Oh, did I already mention that?}

Cute, lil' ole, Memphis-lovin, Leslie 
made them up
and now you can print one out for yourself...
for free.

So you can dream about your approaching vacay, 
scan the month for a good weekend to host a party, 
and keep tabs of when you're busy and when you're...  free.

Click the link here to print one out for yourself.

Mines going on the fridge...
where do you keep your calendar?

Mourning in Camelot...

at the age of 95,
 burning out one of the last remaining links to Camelot.

"Sarge" served as Ambassador to France, 
and lived just under two years from the death of his wife,
Eunice Kennedy Shriver,
the younger sister of John F. Kennedy.

His life was spent working in worthy causes such as
the establishment of the Peace Corps, 
fighting the war on poverty,
& the sudden arrangement 
of the funeral of his wife's brother, JFK.

He is also notably connected as 
the father in law of California's Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Spell it out for me...

This print is going up.

In my kid's nursery.

I'll just need to buy one before it sells out.

Do you love it, too??

Get the ABC's of style
Piper's great picks at

Paging Doctor Grove

I got tested.

No, no, no...
 not for anything hideous...

but to diagnose my style, silly!

Kirsten of Simply Grove
offers a free test.

And it's not the awkward type of testing
that lands you half-naked,
wearing a gown made out of fast food napkin material, 
with zero pride remaining to your name.

Kirsten will review the images,
and a few days later-

she will let you know
-in a very professional manner-
 what's happening in your head.

Do you experience pain in your heart when you look through Lonny?
You may be living with "Ecclectic mix of modern glam with youthful traditional" taste.

Perhaps you're budget is ailed your affection for nordic design with a very real case of:
"Classic modern with a dose of swedish rustic taste."

{Symptoms may include a Pavlov-like response to Swedish meatballs and/or lignon berries...}

If you have developed a taste that can be bet described as:
 "clean chic retro with traditional, classic, and rustic moments,"
it's recommended that you spend 45 minutes of walking

... through Restoration Hardware every day.

These are the five pictures I sent to Kirsten...

I have to admit, I was nervous.

What if I had a plaguing case of

You can only imagine my relief when this came through my inbox...

Lauren’s Style Diagnosis:

Glamorously Traditional
Statements are made and ideas are very clear in these spaces.  It is not ok to be boring.  Old fashioned creativity is out the door.  Pieces are big and beautiful and walls are full of modern and classic art.  Linens are high quality and accessories tell a story.  Elegance and contemporary have kissed!!


Thanks, Doc.

Head over to Simply Grove...
check out what Kirsten's saying, 

Monday Moods: I feel... dark.

Black Swan 
hasn't come out yet in the UK...
and the anticipation is killing me.

Killing me. 

Everything is reminding me of the fact that
I haven't seen it yet. 

channeling my goth side... how'd i do? :)

What did you think of Black Swan?

Oscar worthy or freaky & disturbing? 

Here's the trailer below...

image source 3, 5

Back at You.

Yesterday was one of those days
when blogging is so rewarding.

I got so many kind words of encouragement
for my niece,
and I have to tell you:

bloggers are awesome.

I first got a glimpse of your kindness during Well: Done,
and yesterday, I was reminded of
how lucky I am to be a part of this community.


The surgery went better than we could have hoped,
and the little lady seems to be recovering well.

a pre-op photo op

I saw this today, 
and it made me think of all of you.


This little blog land we are in
really is chocked full of 
the most creative, courteous, and supportive people.

I'm so glad to have you be a part of my every day life!

Role Play.

I wear many hats.
{literally & figuratively, I suppose.}

Between family life, work, & blogging...
it's a wonder I get my teeth brushed every day.

Naturally, when we all have so much going on-
we let things slide.

We have to.

{..this also helps me justify not working out...}

But one role that I never skimp on is 
my role of an aunt.

Because honestly- how could I not love these kids?

My sister had three boys that stole all of our hearts away...

...and then, viola, she got pregnant again.

This time with a little girl.

This little girl happily reigns my family's heart...
and today, I'm asking for her to be in yours, too.

My niece has spina bifida, and her spinal cord has tethered-
so today, this little one is having surgery.

It's risky surgery and a doozy of recovery,
{especially when you have three boys to take care of...}
but we have faith that God will take care of her.

{He sure has, so far!}

Thanks for your support, friends! 

xoxo- lauren

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