Plat Du Jour: Goan Lunch

I am having a love affair with Indian food.

Our amazing chef here at Noi Varo
(the best villa in Goa!)
cooked us up an amazing traditional Goan lunch.

For two people,
it was a feast.

In fact, 
this entire set up keeps finding
Tyler & I both saying
how very Roman we feel.

It's just the two of us
and four full time staff here.

(What world is this?)

I know that seems like it must 
 cost a fortune to stay here,
but it really doesn't!

{And since I'm actually really cheap,
so you can trust me when I say that!}

So, if you ever want to live like Caesar or Octavia-
Noi Varo is your place.

On to more important things:
the lunch line up.

As Goa stretches along the Indian coast,
seafood is king.


is available on any menu here in Goa,
so it's only fitting it to be included.

In fact, fish is such a staple of the diets here in Goa,
a common greeting is: 
"What fish have you eaten today?"

{Talk about cutting to the chase.}

Next up,


I'm not sure what kind of fish this was,
but I can say it was a fresh white fresh
that was lightly breaded and really tasty.


I haven't had okra since leaving the states.
While it wasn't fried or from Bubba's,
this light side was perfect.


This is my staple order when we do Indian.
A vegetarian curry of potatoes & cauliflower.
Don't be scared. Just try it.


These cost about $0.50 per bowl 
and are how the locals keep their bellies full & happy.
(I'm not a huge shell fish fan, but Tyler really likes these.)

Anyone else think of "Drop Dead Gorgeous" when discussing not eating shellfish?


This Indian drink is an digestive aid...
and after a mammouth meal like this,
you're going to need all the help you can get.

It's definitely not sweet...
it tastes strongly of garlic,
but it's interesting and worth trying.

After all....
when in Rome.

What's the craziest-but-most-delicious thing you've eaten while traveling?

Plat Du Jour: Indian Breakfast

The consistent thing I heard over & over
before coming to India 
was always the same:

"Be careful what you eat."

The food off the streets just isn't safe,
and somehow it gives most tourist a bit of..
well, you can guess.

But somehow, we've lucked out to staying in house
with amazingly western standards of food prep,
and with taste that is unworldly.

Now I need to watch what I eat,
but not out of fear for giardea or illness...
but because I could get seriously fat 
over the next two weeks.

The house we are staying at for the week,
is fantastic.

2 thumbs up. 5 stars. 3 cheers. 1 in a million.

Whatever you want to say.

I'll just say this:
If you are planning to visit India,
and need a rental in Goa,
you have to come here.

It's gorgeous and I can't wait to show you the interiors 
& introduce you to the fabulous staff.

For now, 
I just want to show off the food.

{I'm horribly predictable, aren't I?}

Let's start with breakfast,
since it is the most important meal of the day.

Here is how we kick off the day 
(after waking up around 10:30 am)
here in Goa at Noi Varo.

{universally delicious wherever you day may begin}

{i think of this as a couture breakfast, cause it feels more posh}

{frothy, fresh, and fantastic.}

Best served in open air 
with a good view of the cool sandstone pool
and your husband...
who you had missed terribly over the past three weeks.

*all images are original to Aspiring Kennedy

India: Family Advice

My brother went to India in the summer of 2004.

He stayed for four weeks,
and had some fairly crazy stories to tell upon returning...

One involving his friend,
 who woke up in the middle of the night 
to find a giant rat sitting on his chest.

A local shrugged it off
and explained it to be normal,
since "rats like to come eat the food 
 under your finger nails while you sleep."

.... !!!!! .....


So in doing this guest series,
I had to tap my trusted source and beg him to contribute.

Which he did,
because he's so nice like that.

Meet my (hilarious) big brother, Jonathan
and check out his answer to my big question:

What is the biggest surprise waiting for me in India?


"An all-out assault on your senses, 
and inevitably, 
your intestines as well..." 

"...I lost 25 pounds in 4 weeks."

he's a funny one!

... Ha! I wish! 25 pounds would make me a new woman...

I don't get to typically thank guest bloggers this personally,
but thanks for coming, Jonathan. Love you!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

India: C&C Living

To continue on our journey through India,
the lovely Aimee from Chic & Cheap Living is here.

And her pictures are killing me.

(By the way, if you aren't a regular at her blog... I would recommend it!)

So I asked Aimee the big question:

What is the biggest surprise waiting for me in India?

And this is what she had to say...


Thanks Lauren for having me on your blog while you're away!  I'm an avid traveler and got to experience quite a few cities in India with a close friend a few years ago.

India's biggest surprise for me is its vast diversity.  
Before visiting India, I had a vision of India garnered from movies, magazines, and marketing material (Incredible India!) 
 But India is more than the bright colors and catchy music of Bollywood, 
it is a subcontinent containing a vast range of different landscapes, cultures, and people.

I attended a wedding in Goa 
which is a relaxed, sleepy beach town with Portugese influences 
(also seen in its religion and certain foods).

But I also marveled at the stunning, jewel tones and camels seen so frequently in Jaipur.  
The elephants, camels, and snakes (charmed of course) were also inhabitants of this area.  
The art and artistry in Jaipur was delicate, detailed, and stunning reminiscent of its illustrious past.

Varanasi and Sarnath are such humble, religious centers for Hindis and Buddhists, respectively.  
The serenity was apparent at the Banares Ghats in Varanasi any time you visited.

Delhi is a city of such history and heritage.  Whether you explore military sites 
such as Agra Fort or explore the relics of Humayun's tomb, 
you will see architecture that pays homage to powerful people and eras.

India truly is incredible and its different cities will offer every type of traveler a different perspective.  Have a great trip Lauren and I hope that you experience the India that youa re looking for!

INDIA: Lark & Linen

Before leaving for India, 
I asked a few of my friends in the interwebs
one question about my trip to India:

What is the biggest surprise waiting for me in India?

The reaction I got from EACH contributor was a shock in itself.

The responses were all really long, heart felt answers that were really personal.

I'm so honored to have their advice for our trip to India...

Speaking of which-
we are in Goa today
staying at this gorgeous house, Noi Varo.

More details to come, but first, 
beautiful & cool Jacquelyn of Lark&Linen shares her thoughts (& images!)
on the biggest surprise waiting for me in India.

The biggest surprise waiting for you in India 
is the beauty and kindness that you probably aren't expecting. 

I know that everything that I had anticipated about India 
went out the window as soon as my plane landed. 

You will leave changed. 

Humbled even.

You will try to wrap your mind around the fact
  such a huge, densely populated country can function, 
and function well, 
with what seems to be limited structure and virtually no organization.

You will experience kindness from people who have nothing, 
but are willing to help you any way that they can
 (and no, they aren't always trying to make a rupee or two). 

You will talk to people who are so inherently proud of their country 
that you can feel their excitement when you share an experience you've had. 

You'll see places that are dripping with stories; riddled in history. 

India is a land filled with dire contrasts; 
from extreme wealth to poverty beyond your wildest dreams. 

From a historic building carved out of marble, millions of intricate precious stones 
inlaid into each surface, 
to piles of litter next door. 

From chatting with a family who hasn't eaten in days, 
to heaping portions of the most intensely delicious food you've ever had the pleasure of tasting, 
and it will cost you a mere three dollars.

 You'll learn what's really important, 
and what you need to just let go.

 You learn to let loose as you may have to spend the night 
at a train station because your train is delayed 
for thirteen hours without warning. 

And it's okay. 

India will, without a doubt, change you.

 It will change the way you think. 

It will change the way you look at life. 

It's a wonderful place
 and I'm convinced 
that everyone needs to experience it in their lifetime. 


The words, the pictures.
India, I'm ready for you!

Jacquelyn... you are the coolest.
Thanks for sharing your trip, your gorgeous pictures, 
and a slice of your time from being awesome to blog here at Aspiring Kennedy!

Monday Mood: I feel... sentimental.

Today I'm leaving for India-
which marks the beginning of a big adventure,
but also closes a significant chapter in our book.

Our Oxford flat is now bare bones.

Our closets are mostly empty,
our fridge only has the a few, neglected abandoned condiments.

The rest  is just sitting for movers to take
and move into London when we return.

While it's terribly exciting to think
about all the things we will see over the next month
as we explore India & Tuscany,
it's really sad to think of what we won't be seeing again
after that point.

We will return knowing that "home" just won't be the same.

I've been spending moments with friends,
looking up at the architecture as I walk to town,
and honestly, feeling really sad.

It's hard to move on 
when you are in a place that is just so good.

How do you give up what you know to be good
and take that risk into what might turn out to be any less?

It's hard, it's scary, it's exciting...
but either way,
it's been worth it.

This year in Oxford has been life changing for us.

I can't believe we got to be a part of something so wonderful,
and I know in later years,
I'll really miss this special time in our lives.

But excuse me for being a sap,
but these are few things 
that I'm not ready to leave.

the formal college dinners

hilariously epic nights with the MBA programme

a home that oozes with culture.
 shakespeare in the quod of the bodelian library?  just everyday life here in oxford!

i'll really miss this: hanging out and enjoying time with our friends.  we love you all!

getting to use amazing facilities for everyday events...
 this oxford building might look familiar... its the infirmary on harry potter!

having a schedule that has allowed to us to travel our faces off... and fall more in love!

But what will break my heart whenever I see pictures of it?
This place. The Radcliffe Camera...
 it's my favorite. 

On the bright side...
I think London is going to look really good
on this Aspiring Kennedy.

*all images are original to Aspiring Kennedy

LEAF it to me.

Have you see the amazing videos by LEAFtv?
{"Living Eating and Fashion"}

Well, they are pretty much my favorite things ever.

I especially thought this little ditty for a summer cocktail was cute.

videos are the next big thing!

I just need an HD camera
and a film crew to help me make some 
that are a bit more professional than my own. :)

Oxford English Dictionary- Volume 6

This is one my of least favorite discrepancies between UK & US verbage...

for some reason,
calling jell-o a "jelly" just doesn't sit well.

{Pun intended.}

Both of these treats are fantastic, in my opinion.

There's nothing better than some a warm scone 
covered in clotted cream & jam...
or a bowl of chilly jell-o on a hot day. 


Do any of you remember 
the jell-o egg molds from the nineties
that would come available around Easter?

Or jell-o jigglers?

I spent a lot of my youth trying to consume my body weight in both.

Pink Eye

This morning, 
I used a voucher I bought earlier in the spring
 on for a day at the spa.

I paid £20 for a 30 minute massage, 30 minute facial, 
30 minute body wrap, & eyebrow shaping.

Sound too good to be true?

I was worried about that, too.

My trek to the spa was a bit further than anticipated-
in fact, my cab fare cost more than the voucher itself.

Upon walking in, it was obvious that the actual salon 
was basically the exact opposite of your resort spa experience.

No lounging in fluffy robes in a serene waiting room.
No leather massage tables with heating pads and fluffy sheets.
No overhead speakers quietly playing music interspersed with faux cricket chirps.

 Martine's Beauty Spot was in the second floor of an office building...
in a business park...
in the middle of a small nearby village (Abingdon)...
& looked like the type of joint Frenchy would have worked at

But honestly-
it was one of the best facials & massages I've ever had.

I didn't care that I was surrounded by cinder-block walls painted pepto-pink
and that the squiggly IKEA mirrors hanging nearby were dusty...
I was just happy that I had paid £20 for such amazing treatments.

The staff was so friendly and talented.
They were even accommodating to me arriving a half hour late.

So would I take ten days like this at Martine's 
over a over-the-top morning at the Four Seasons?


In honor of feeling a little like a princess
(even though I did take the bus home to save some money),
I'm indulging in some pink today.

Not quite the same shade of pink of the walls at Martine's... but, eh, it's pretty close.

Molton Brown, Pink Peppercorn Bath Gel, $17.50 | Reiss Shirt £110 | Marc Jacobs Bracelet $78 
Sheyna Earrings £52.00  | Pilot Precise V5 $7.62 | Cocktail Image | Door Image

*I love the Pilot Precise oh-so-much. I take it as a personal duty to convert as many people to using them as possible.

Monday Moods: I feel... social(ized).

Back home in the states,
Obama's health care reform is a big deal.

A lot is changing, a lot is discussed,
& a lot of comparisons have been made.

Now this Aspiring Kennedy
is actually a Texan by birth.

My forefathers would have more likely voted for Nixon than JFK...
and the changes threatening the quality of our privatized health care 
can be a touchy subject down in those parts.

But these days,
 I live in England.

And as a resident of this fine island,
I participate in NHS for my British-based medical issues.

I've been to the doctor twice.
I've had friends have babies here.
I've seen friends experience emergency situations here.

I hope this doesn't ignite political fights or banter
(because I don't really have an opinion on which is "better"),
but can just provide you a glimpse of the NHS experience here in the UK.

While it's definitely not the same sterile setting 
as the medical centers back in the States,
you do get the care you need.

And the best part-
no copay, no hassles, no nothing.

Everything is completely free.

And prescriptions?

While the experience is definitely different in setting & protocol,
the basic routine/exam/consult was pretty standard to what I've had back in the US.

I left happy...
and with two sore arms from my vaccines.

{or "jabs" as my nurse called them.}

So take a peek into my visit to the Doctor
for my pre-travel shots & consult that I had this morning...
and you can imagine how you might feel being a part of socialized health reform.

Forget parking garages & medical complexes.... medical centers here are typically in converted houses.

Feeling right at home (?)

Reception. No forms, copay, etc. Just give your name and head to the waiting room.

Well, I feel less nervous about those horror stories of "overcrowded waiting rooms." 

Magazines in the fireplace.

Hey- they have outdated magazines to read while you wait in England, too!

Most people meet with the nurse, unless she moves you on to the Doctor.
Painful shots are, apparently, universal.

Paperwork is done in the exam room.

This crappy door did make me laugh. Oh well.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
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