US: Chapter 1

Before delving into the next two chapters, I would like to say something:

This is the story of Tyler & me.

It's our love story,
but unfortunately-
I can't talk about it
without mentioning other people.

Their names are dropped...
but people who "knew" me
at this point of my life
will be able to fill the gaps.

To the rest of you,
your reactions remind me how much I love blogging.

Consider this portion of our story the "adolescent stage."
There are going to be some awkward features appearing,
and it's not easy to see how they will all settle...
but they somehow do.

You'll just have to trust me.


Lauren goes to West Africa for the summer.

Spending nights in huts,
endless hours of driving through the desert,
wearing long skirts in the relentless heat,
and not speaking French fluently
combine to make this a really challenging summer.

At night, she lays in bed and dreams of Italy.

The occasional emails she receives over Togolese dial-up
from her newly-titled "boyfriend" back in Italy
brings her back to her happy place.

But after returning home in August and spending a week rafting with friends,
Lauren decides one night to end this, in her opinion, stale relationship
and move on with college life as it existed before...

The next morning she checks her email to learn that a plane ticket has been purchased
and in a few weeks, her boyfriend would be coming to visit her.

Lauren quickly logs off her email,
stares out the window into the early morning sunshine 
and passively resolves to play this one by ear.

FALL 2004

Tyler is back for his second semester.

He knows his way around,
and he is now living in his own house
with several of his new friends.

He also has, what I like to call, his band of hoes.

Editors note: Who, in reality, are all nice, functional females of society...
but, as his wife, I feel entitled to lump this stage of his life under such terms.

Lauren is back to dorm-life with her friends...
all of whom are in relationships,
including Lauren.

All of them except for one...
but, fear not, this girl has scoped out her soul mate
and she can't stop talking about him.

His name is Tyler Knight, 
he transferred in while I was in Italy,
and she's taking him to a party at a Pumpkin Patch...

But after a few weeks,
her roommate regretfully starts to suspect 
that he may not feel the same.

And so she introduces our suite into a revolutionary book that just been on Oprah.

It's telling girls how it really is when it comes to men,
and it's abruptly titled:

He's Just Not That Into You.

We reference this book when Tyler doesn't call her
to see, what in fact, this could possibly mean.

When we see Tyler out with another girl at dinner
we scan through its pages and look for guidance.

We flip through the chapters when Tyler gives her a side-hug
to diagnose the real status of their "relationship."

But all it seems to say is
that there isn't really a relationship...
and he doesn't really like her back.

In the meantime,
Lauren's Italian Stallion comes to the US for two weeks,
he passionately loves on her and says how much he misses her,
they spend the weekends with each other's families...

The night before he returns to Italy,
he looks into her eyes and tells her that he loves her,
that this relationship will work because he cares so much for her.

Lauren feels her heart swell that someone cares for her so much.

She assumes that this is what love must be...
and happily returns the sentiment.

As Lauren drives back to school that night, 
her giddiness begins to turn into a unsettling feeling in her stomach
and realizes that she may have just gotten in over her head.

The following week her roommate convinces her to go to a concert with her.

It's a band called the Drive by Truckers 
and, regardless of what kind of music it is,
 Tyler is going to be there.

It's the perfect place for Lauren to meet him and tell her friend what she observes.

The concert is at a classy place called Juanita's,
and that night, Lauren endures a brutal assault to her ears.

She hates this music and finds "the scene" to be far too cool for her.

As she stands against the back wall playing snake on her phone,
a friend introduces Lauren to a guy named Tyler.


She quickly assumes the role of "laid-back roommate" 
to help validate the eligibility of her friend.

As she talks over the loud music,
she's excited to learn that Tyler grew up knowing her cousins.

As it turns out, they have more in common than she could have guessed.

After the concert is over,
they say goodbye and return to their respective groups.

Lauren feels quite satisfied with her interaction,
she had never expected to make a new friend that night.

Tyler is ready to leave this awful concert
and wonders what that random girl was saying for the past hour.

All he knows is it he couldn't hear a thing, she wouldn't stop talking,
and the lighting was so weird he has no idea who she is.

Lauren & Tyler pass each other on campus the next week.

She excitedly waves hello to her new friend,
stops along the sidewalk,
and adjusts her Quicksilver messenger bag to a conversational position.

Tyler looks at the giddy stranger standing in his path,
 politely smiles and nods,
and walks straight past her.

If you were expecting a story involving love at first sight...
you might have come to the wrong place.

*I wish I had more pictures of this stage of our life, but facebook wouldn't open up to our college until Fall 05...
so I'm a bit limited to what I can scrounge up.

US: The Prologue

A note to all the non-commentors who voted yesterday,
can I just say:

You all are really cute.

Apparently, people get a kick out of love stories,
(including myself)
and so now I'm sticking to my promise 
and figuring out how to articulate 
what is actually a rather complex story 
into four blog posts. 

And the easiest way to do this is, of course, 
to give you some background
on the two main characters of this story.

Are you ready for this?
Like, are you sitting on a train...
on the couch with a cup of tea...

Because this is a bit longer than my normal post length.

Fall of 2002

Tyler is a sophomore in college. 

After starting his college career off to the tune of
fraternity life & skipping class for PS2 (gross),
his parent's made him transfer into a smaller, local school...
where he lived at home, worked at a the nearby Home Depot,
and slowly began to wish away his college years.

Far away in another state,
Lauren is a college freshman at this point-
and her life could not be more different than Tyler's.

It's her first fall in college,
and she is busting at the seams.

She is making so many friends, 
getting to wear real clothes to class instead of uniforms,
connecting with great professors & administrators...
and for the first time in her life- 
boys are noticing her!

With this new found "talent,"
Lauren quite quickly scales up her previous kissing record 
of, ahem, one to a rather fun total of six boys by April...

Including one hilarious of make-out with a guy (Number 5)
surrounded by her friends, 
who were sleeping next to & around her
while at an acquaintance's house.

It could be said by an observer, 
that Lauren was soaking up all the fun she could on campus
before she left to study in Italy next year...
but also in the way every parent hopes for their child.

(She's incredibly innocent, naive, & prude.)

Christmas 2003

Tyler goes to visit his relatives for Christmas...
who happen to live across the street from the college Lauren attends.

His cousin is currently a freshman there at the same college,
and over the course of the weekend-
his cousins sell this college to him as a good place to finish school.

Tyler, being beat down with life, decides to give it a try.

He goes over to the school, fills out paperwork, enrolls, 
and decides that regardless of how this move ends up....
nothing could be worse than what he is doing now.

He also gets a Boxer puppy out of this decision from his parents,
which his sisters name Leia.

Meanwhile in Dallas, Lauren is packing up a giant suitcase
with Juicy Couture sweats, a Baby G watch, 
& a rainbow of solid tee's from GAP
to leave for the adventures that await her in Italy.

While she expects this time to be an adventure of a lifetime,
neither could she have guessed what actually is in store for her.

Lauren also makes out with a guy who is 2 inches shorter 
than her (Number 7) over the break.

Spring 2004

Tyler packs his F-150, 
sits his new puppy on the front seat,
and drives out of his drive way to start over.

He has an awesome job set up for him on-campus,
and he even has a free room to stay in at his Aunt & Uncles 
in the house across the street from the school...

 The same room, in fact, which Lauren had kissed #5 in just a few months earlier.

Upon arrival to campus,
Tyler quickly finds himself hanging out with the "cool crowd."

And to be honest, the girls love him.

He is nice, he's smart, he's got a backbone...
and with all the attention he receives,
Tyler soon decides that this might not have been a bad decision.

Lauren has no sooner touched down in Italy and drank her first cappuccino
than meets an (older) American boy who just moved to Italy.

She decides this is a great way to experience Italy-
getting to travel all over Italy
and fulfilling a dream of 
a Meg Ryan-induced romance in a European setting.

(Yes, I was ridiculous. I was 19.)

This semester in Italy ignites something in Lauren.

She loves living overseas, loves learning a new language,
loves the food, loves to go out with friends,
and loves having a boyfriend for all the romantic moments 
that she would have otherwise moaned to her friend:
"Man, I really wish I had a boyfriend right now."

Dates along the Arno river,
kissing on a bridge,
talking in cafes...
it was all perfect.

So perfect in fact, 
that it covered up all the awkward incompatibility
that would have been revealed
if they had met in a real-life setting.

At the end of the semester,
Lauren is heartbroken to leave Italy
and all the fun she has had there.

Her new boy-toy is heartbroken for her to leave.

They decide to keep this thing going...
which keeps her time in Italy alive
& allows her (non-confrontational) self
the option of avoiding a break-up & hurting feelings.

Va bene.

.... And I'll stop it here for now....

So what do you think...
should I keep going?

Would you even care?

... to know about how Tyler & I got together?

You know,
to hear "our story?"

I always love reading about other bloggers.

Like Bridget...
or Elizabeth...

When I see these stories offered up,
I will dig back in the archived posts of days-gone-by 
to read each word of every post
 of these couples' love stories.

But for some reason-
I've never wanted to share our story...
publicly, at least.

Though seeing as how you put up with 
 obnoxious pictures of us kissing all around the world...
it might only be fair at this point
to give you some background on how this party started.

Our second kissing picture of a hundred... but my favorite.
So what do you think?

Yes, yes, yes!


Nah, just keep showing us pictures of England
and sugar-drenched pastries & pretty drinks.

Leave your vote below...
and I'll go with which side wins.

Laura Ashley Is Catching My Eye.

When I was little, I went to summer camp with a girl named Leah.

Within a day, Leah became my best friend for the next two weeks.

Leah wore a patch over her glasses to strengthen a weak eye.
The patch was maroon and had a kitten embroidered on it...
and I loved it so much.

 When my parents arrived to pick me up at the end of camp,
I immediately began to alert them of vision problems in hopes of getting my own.

It didn't work.

Beyond igniting my passion for ocular fashion,
the only other memory I have of my bunkmate Leah is of her cute mom
as she fluffed Leah's bunk with pretty floral bedding
while I sat awkwardly on my faded Little Mermaid sleeping bag.

I remember Leah told me that she worked at a store called Laura Ashley.

And ever since that summer with Leah & her mom,
I've had it permanently fixed in my mind
that Laura Ashley must be a very cool place, indeed.

After attending the press preview for the Spring Summer '12,
I can confirm, that yes,
Laura Ashley has still got it.

Before moving to the UK,
I never realized that Laura Ashley had such a large product line.

Home, fashion, perfume, travel accessories...
you name it, they do it.

And they do it pretty cute!

The clothes definitely had a British feel,
and I was smitten for that leather jacket. 

Wouldn't that be perfect for a trip to Dublin?

Me thinks yes.

I loved this bedside vignette...
clean glass mixed with a subtle modern wall paper.

Who wouldn't feel like a lady
 snoozing in a scene like that?

Recognize that flower from my day with the Queen?
It's Laura Ashley that I got in the gift bag.

While I strolled around the (really chic!) party
I ended up falling for some super cute pieces...

black dot dress (looks fabulous on!) £67.50 | london city scape pillow £27.00
laura ashley perfumes £36 | archer lamp £49

I may have different preferences for my eyepatch fashion today
(maroon really doesn't do much for my complexion)
it's nice to see that some old classics can always catch your eye.

Somewhere Out There

Thanksgiving was great.

I cooked my first turkey...
and, I have to say in a proud cry,
 it was delicious!

Thank you to everyone who offered such great help:
You taught me the merits of brining,
and for that- I am forever grateful.

Plus, I had my brother & sister-in-law here,
and that made it even better.

As my hectic semester comes to an end,
I'm finally having time to breathe 
and think beyond a minute-to-minute basis.

The snooze button on my imagination is turned off,
and I'm starting to scheme & 
plot the next round of adventures ahead of us.

Like a week climbing up to the to of Scotland....

Spending a few weeks in Texas with family & friends...

photo by Kevin Dotolo

Celebrating a special anniversary in the Big Apple....

Planning to spend a springtime in Paris....

And the possibility of seeing a lot more of this place.

Just when I start to think we're calming down, 
I realize-
we are just gearing up for more!

We are gluttons for punishment, I tell ya.

(Glorious, jet-lagged punishment!)

 I'm so thankful to have someone to enjoy it with,
our health that allows us to accomplish it all,
and you to share it with.

Because it really does make it all the more fun.

Blocktail Party!

Bloggers + Cocktail Party = Blocktail Party

And guess what?


(You're + Invited = You'rvited.)

My blogger friend, Helena, and I are trying to organise 
a London Bloggers (and blog readers) event before the holidays!

 I know! It's pretty exciting, right?
  (Ahem... Right, London peeps?)

 I know there are a few of you so don't be shy. 

Helena & I are working on getting the right place nailed down
 and would love to see if you (yes, you non-commentor!) 
would like to join us for an afternoon/evening of fun with a bunch of fab bloggers? 

 Helena even created a little fun banner for the party...
because it makes it feel more fun this way.

  (You can use if you want, scroll down for various sizes!)

 The idea is to host it in a super cool venue in London on Monday, December 12th. 

As we both blog about a bit of everything, 
we would love to have bloggers from all niches 
(design, fashion, foodies, ex-pats, weddings... whoever!) 

Can you come?

 Please let us know if you would be interested below...
and we'll get all the details sorted.



 *Here are some more sizes, please drop me an email if you need a different size or coding to embed it. 





An Overview: First Class Seating

There are only two days left before Thanksgiving.

Are you ready?

Have you dusted off your ribbed turtleneck 
and spent hours shopping Real Simple & Pinterest for recipes?

Is the back seat of your car scattered with
overnight bags & aluminum-foil covered pyrex dishes?

In honor of the millions of people traveling 
around the country this week...
here are some travel photos to get the party started.

I didn't realize what a fascination I have with pictures from planes,
until digging through my external hard drive...
and apparently, I've kinda got a thing for the perspective of a window seat.

These pictures stir up that sense of anticipation
you have in-flight when you glance out the window to the ground below?

The gradually changing scenery below
whets my appetite for the approaching destination.

Hopefully, they can provide you some in-flight entertainment for your travels.

Drive safe! Drink lots of coffee! 
Get to the airport on time! 
Don't wear belts or lace up shoes for security lines!

The patchwork farmland of the Midlands. England.
Apennines, Italy.
Flying out of a storm. Ft. Lauderdale, Fl
Touchdown in Milan, sunset.
Paris, by plane. See those arrondissements winding out of the center?
Welcome to the Emerald Isle. Arriving in Dublin, Ireland.
Flying into France. Looks just like a map.
Seattle, Washington

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Comendi. It's a good....

Did you ever see The Social Network?

So I liked the movie when I first saw it...
however, when I learned the Winklevoss twins 
were in Oxford's MBA class a year ahead of Tyler,
I liked it even more.

Because I'm ridiculous like that.

Apparently, I feel cool being 14+ degrees removed 
from cute Nordic-ish twins 
who lose lawsuits to Facebook.

I can't hook you up with the Winkleviii
(the plural for Winklevoss, silly)...
our paths never crossed.

But the good news is,
 I can hook you up with Comendi.

Yeah, it's a basically website that is going to be huge.

I figured you all hear about it soon enough...
but I wanted to tell you first
because, well, my friend, Daniel, kinda started it.

I know... I'm shameless...
but it's true.

I got on Comendi.
I flipped out on how cool it is.
I wanted to blog about it, like, immediately.

When I emailed Daniel,
he kindly humored me 
by giving us bloggers a little group of our very own.

The very first group on Comendi ever.

{Basically, we're all famous!}

It's like our own little clubhouse that we can go play in
and tell each other our secrets...

... like where we buy our discounted plane tickets...
.... how to find good sources for couch recovering...
and the best place to eat fried chicken near our house.

You think that sounds awesome? 
I know. Me too.

So This Is What You Do...

When you're in the site, it will automatically feed your facebook contacts in.

Editor's note: The site is just opened to the public
so you may not see anyone yet...
except for all your fun blogger friends, like me!

Then follow cities you are interested in...

And then start requesting/ giving advice.

Being that these boys have Ivy League educations 
& have work histories including places like Google,
the site is super smart. 

As you type in suggestions,
Comendi will feed suggested google matches for you.

It will also give you pictures, too...
because pictures makes it pretty.

So someday, when people start getting dis-pinterested
and everyone is going crazy about how cool Comendi is...
you'll be able to say in your most hipster voice:

"Yeah, I was one of the first people on the site. It's whatever."

And it'll be true.

More true than the courts found the Winklevoss' claim of inventing Facebook, at least.

Some things never change...

This week has been low in blogging, 
but as I always say-
when my blog posts are down,
it means other things in my life
are being awesomely distracting.

Beyond a visit to Windsor,
{that totally charmed my face off}

I've been hitting the town with my brother & sister-in-law...

I have some great memories 
of traveling Europe with my brother...

When we sit around a dinner table,
most of those stories are pretty much guaranteed
 to induce tears upon recollection.

Their favorite being the look that I strutted
 around London & Paris one week
in the height of my awkward years.

(Beret + Vest + Pink Puffy Coat = Lifetime of Family Jokes)

Yes, tears of laughter for them... tears of shame from me. I was just living the dream.
However, some of my best memories of Europe 
come from the other half of their marriage...

My sister-in-law, Meredith

{a.k.a. my college roommate}

Oh yes,
we both studied in Florence together
when we were in college...

Florence, 2004
took the continent by storm...

lived together for the rest of college...

and even came back together for a victory lap
through England & Sicily
with my family when the two of them started dating.

It's been six years since we've bought this party
back to this side of the ocean...

and we were doing our best to make up for lost time.

Out the door went through my calm, "local" demeanor...
and I transformed back into a loud, laughing American.

So much so,
that I regret to admit that we even went out last night 
dressed in matching shirts...

This move landed us the nicknames of "Ketchup" & "Mustard" from our dear husbands.

Oh well...

I guess some things never change.

The brilliance of our youth. Hard Rock Cafe, Rome 2004

Now you know more about my family...
and can see why I've tried to destroy all family pictures from 1995-1999.

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy

A Day with The Queen... & A Smile from Charles

I admit that some of the things 
I get to do are completely ridiculous.

Life in England has given me the chance
to partake in some amazing moments & celebrations...
and I haven't lost the hunger to try & find them.

One of the more memorable of these came today,
the day the Queen & I crossed paths.

(And for real this time... not across the street like at the Royal Wedding.)

This year marks the 400th anniversary of the translation
of the King James Bible.

Today in Westminster Abbey,
the Queen, Prince Phillip, & Prince Charles
that was led by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

And, gosh darn it, I did, too.

My friend, Grace, inherited some tickets
that an old friend won in the lottery 
held by the King James Trust.

When Grace's husband couldn't leave work,
I got to play second fiddle...

and was the happiest fiddle in the world.

Grace, being responsible & prompt,
got there early when the doors opened 
and scored seats on the front row.

I, being late & a maniac,
was happy to see her prime location upon arrival.

After about an hour,
the crowd grew silent...
the scene from outside the door illuminated in camera flashes...
and the party started.

The Queen walked past & nodded hello.
Prince Phillip walked past and nodded hello...
but when Charles walked by and saw two euphoric, grinning Americans,
 broke his composed face and smiled at us.

I pretty much blacked out after that.

The End.

Actually, I do remember the service.

It was gorgeous
and a great tribute the huge impact
that this translation has had on the world.

The choir was, in the most cliche terms, angelic 
and we listened to the thoughts & prayers 
of some faithful leaders of the Anglican church.

Afterwards, the Royals all processed out
and, so kindly, nodded at us once more...

We made our exits from the Abbey with the crowd...

and glowed all the way home.

I'm not sure if this would be your cup of tea...
but it sure was for my taste!

The BBC news clip is here... 

*Around the 1:32 minute mark, you'll see my big white flower in the bottom right. :)

*crappy iPhone pics by me
*gorgeous real photos by Grace Glendinning

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