You (don't) look happy to greet me...


...but I still love you anyway, 
Captain & Mrs. Von Trapp.

via

Did anyone else dream of being Leisl when they were little?
(I did.)


Or wish you were as cute as Gretel?
(I did.)

Hope your week is going well...
thanks for putting up with my inconsistent posting
and low responding lately.

I am drowning a little bit right now.

...guests in town, work, Tyler's school, friends, making plans to move....

Today, I actually scheduled a shower for myself 
to make sure I had time to wash my hair 
in the midst of all that was going on.

It's that bad.

I'm giving myself a pick me up
by way of the Sound of Music.

(My very favorite movie ever, ever, ever.)

Anyone else love this on-screen family
 about as much as you love your own?

Going Out with a Bang


Did you know that in ten weeks we will be leaving Oxford?

UK masters programmes are only one year.

So, we'll be packing up our little flat
that overlooks the Thames,
and moving on to life ahead

I haven't wanted to bring it up yet...
because honestly,
it makes me too sad to think about leaving.

This year has been the best year.

Not only have Tyler & I grown so close to each other
living here on our own,
but we've grown really close to our friends in Oxford.

Oxford is a beautiful city
full of dreamy spires and charming nuances...
but what always keep it perfect to us
are the friendships we have made here.

(Isn't that how life should be? I think so.)

But, enough with the sadness.

The tears & goodbyes are still weeks away,
and there are adventures to be had in the meantime... and parties.

Lots & lots of parties!

While our budget is way past, long gone, blown to crap tight...
I'll be dressing up in pieces I already have.

But just as Oxford is known for it's dreaming spires...
so will I keep dreaming while I'm here.

Here are some looks that I'm longing to wear...
but our students bank account just can't bare.

silver sequins, mustard pumps | lacey lovely, satin peeptoes | glittery goodness, gold-lined heels

If you're looking for a good time...



... come to Oxford.

We can go punting,
which is, basically, Oxford's take on the gondola.



Long flat boats are pushed (or "punted") along the shallow river bed
with giant poles that push you along the muddy banks below.



Except forget about the opera-singing gondolier to chauffeur you.

You move the boat yourself...  
and it's really hard!

But don't worry,
it's also loads of fun.

You can pack a picnic...



... see a really pretty side of Oxford...




... get your friend to punt you along...




... and then stop in for tea when you're finished.




It's good, cheap fun, 
I tell ya.

You're gonna love it.


*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy.

Regent Tweet 2011


I love free things.

There, I said it...

So when I got invited to this years
I was thrilled.

Regent Street only has some of the BEST shopping in London
(which also means "the world")...
and when stores like Anthropologie, Bose, Brooks Brothers, Penhaligons
are inviting me in for a gift & parties,

...well, let's just say I'll gladly rearrange my schedule to make it happen.



Luckily, my favorite blogging bud, Helena from A Diary of Lovely
came with me for our day of fun.



Here's the run down:

1. Meet at Swarovski Crystal in the upper lounge to get your badge, check in, enter to win Eurostar tickets, meet cool bloggers & editors, put on your badge & game face.

2. Hit the streets. Stop by participating stores, chat, mingle, and get free gift bags, drinks, & nibbles.

3. Tweet as you go.

4. Be a guest at Tibits for lunch. Love your life. It's heavenly, vegetarian, deliciousness.

5. Go see Wicked. (This was a sidestep I had to do for work, but not a bad one!)

6. Stop by the Cocktail Reception on your way to dinner and make husband stand on sidewalk below
to see if you won any of the squillions of additional prizes. 

Somehow, I didn't win any of those... 

Oh well,
there's always next year!

At least,
I hope. 

Pretty please invite me back, Regent Tweet!






Tea for You


A few weeks back,
I hosted a group traveling through London

(... does that sound really random...)

After weeks in India, Morocco, and Boston,
they were on the final leg of their trip...
and what better place to end a pilgrimage for tea than London?

And, boy, did we do it right.

We had fancy high tea at St. James
in the historic department store, Fortnum & Mason.




Not for the everyday treat
at £45 per person...

but with lunch offering like Lobster Salad
or the Crab & Saffron Tart,
you definitely are paying for quality.


look at that delicious hunk of lobster. mama mia.

The main course is served between 
savoury amuse bouches
and the delightfully obtrusive tea cakes & scones.




Heaven help me.





The next day, we went to Twinings 
(the original storefront along the Strand)
for a tea tasting.




Holy cow.

I mean, I drink tea.

I drink a lot of tea.

To be honest, 
I kinda consider myself a bit of a tea expert.





After our tea tasting, 
I realized I am actually just ignorant.

The making of tea is a bit complex.

It was like a visit to a vineyard
hearing them describe the method & process 
behind each variation.

I had no idea so much thought & work went into my daily drinks.

Who needs champagne when you can have 
20 cups of Darjeeling for half the price?

Ok... I guess it's not exactly the same.




Maybe you are smarter than me 
(this is very possible),
but just in case you're as clueless as I was,
here are some things I learned during my morning at Twinings:

1. Most tea comes from the same type of plant.
Green tea, black tea, white tea... you name it.
The variation of color comes from different parts of the tea leaves 
and the differed time of fermentation.

Yes! Not all, but black teas are.
However, unlike wine-
it's only fermented in hot air for a matter of hours.

3. Tea is marked up about 3000x from the fields to the store.
Isn't that crazy?

4. When tasting tea, 
you make a very loud slurping sound
to allow half tea/ half oxygen in your mouth.

It's not very proper sounding, but proper form it is!




Twinings did an amazing tasting for us,
and I would highly recommend them for groups traveling through London.

I mean, if they have been the official purveyor to the monarchy for centuries...
I'm sure you might like them, too.


*All Twinings photos are taken by Noah Darnell, The Fledging Photographer.

Four Sale- English Summer


Well, I did the last Four Sale a while ago...
and it took me forever to ship them.

All the packages are all finally off & in safe hands,
but I will say- 
the shipping on these sales is the hardest part.

First of all, I'm never home!

Second of all, the packaging is surprising expensive,
and I was trying to mail them as cheap as possible to keep the price down.
(Like, $3.50 for packing envelopes? Why can't I find these cheaper here?)

Third, I don't have a car to haul all the packages to the post office,
so it requires multiple runs on foot carrying them. 
(Which obviously is a process that is tres chic, mes amis.)

I should change the name of this to "Four Weeks..." 
since that is pretty much how long it has been taken to mail/receive the goods!

But....this time, I got everything ready first....
so all I have to do is address the packages & drop off at the post.

(I'm getting smarter!)

Like always, four of each item are available.

And man, these things go quick...

Enjoy!

SOLD OUT

I loved these, and thought they were a much cheaper alternative to these ($75!) 



SOLD OUT


Do you use reusable bags? Because you really should.
Not to preach, but it saves sooo many plastic bags!


SOLD OUT

Scarves are cool. This one is especially cool.
It's huge, oversized, and lights as a feather.




*If you make fun of my rushed/ugly photo editing or  awkward solo shots, I will kill you. (Not really, but I felt really dorky trying to shoot these to show the actual size of each item. Please be kind. :)

**All sales are non-refundable, as I buy items on clearance and can't return them. Please consider carefully.

*** Items are obviously not designer or the highest grade material- however, they are flipping cute. You'll like them. I promise! They are fun pieces to give you some oopmh! :)

**** I include packing materials, conversion, and my cc fee to each item then convert the best I can from there. Not perfect, but still a really great deal!



I Love Wedgies.


clockwise from top:
jeffrey campbell, amanda mule £72 | pour la victoire, jaclyn $270 | pour la victoire, divia, $67 | DVF, Opal $206


... err... 

I mean, 
I love wedges.

Wedges are heaven sent.

Can I get an amen?

Flattering to your calves,
perfect with a tan,
and, most importantly-
provide glamorously disguised stability
 for a spastic clutz like myself!

These neutral picks are perfect for the warmer weather...
and you can stretch this summer expense
by wearing any of this palette on warmer autumn days. 

Splurge now. 
Regret Later.

{But be eternally grateful when you see how good your legs photograph in them.}

Life in A Day


The UK seems to get everything after America.

Anthropologie.
Next generation Apple products.
Gwyneth Paltrow.
And I'm still hoping a decent burger will show up.

However, the most obvious lag seems to be movies...

I have to wait *forever* to watch the newest films
that my friends buzz about on all my newsfeeds.

{Speaking of... I finally get to see Bridesmaids!}

But  last night, I got to see a movie that isn't out yet in the States...
and that made me feel, 
well, pretty big time.

The movie is YouTube's first movie,




They had over 80,000 videos submitted, 4,500 hours of footage
from 192 countries.

My opinion:
It was good!

As a social-networking, internet junkie-
it was really cool to see a project "created" by people like you & me
be brought to such a big platform.

At times it was a bit sadder, darker, and females-in-labor-showing
 than I typically prefer...
but hey- 
that's life.

And if you don't love it,
well... there's always another day.



P.S. Thanks Daniel & Corie for bringing me along for the fun!

Visa to India


My husband has to go to India for all of July,
right as I get extremely busy with work in England.

Which would leave me in England all by myself for the month.

Boo.

My inability to mooch off his adventure was causing a bit of frustration for me,
as I'd been dreaming of delicious food, elephant rides, & cheap massages for quite some time.

Luckily, we figured out a way for me to head there for the tail end of his trip this weekend...
and I had my visa appointment this morning in London.

Hoorah!

elephant, shoes, people


As I have waded through the visa & flight planning,
it's pretty clear that I am clueless 
 in planning a vacation to India.

Can you help me?

Have any great tips for elephant farms in Goa?
Know any special people in Agra?
Work for any cool hotel chain in New Delhi?

{Even though India may be relatively cheap, wallet-friendly advice is especially welcome...}

Happy Father's Day!

via

While some girls may be settling into their new palaces,
and other girls can claim to have lived in "Camelot,"

I've never felt like anything less than a princess.

Thanks, dad, for being the best.

I'm so lucky to be yours!

When a Slider's a Home Run.


Close on the heels of talking about my love for dessert
come this introduction/tribute/love song 
to the newest dairy delight I've added to my life.

It's pretty tough to introduce me to something new.

... Blizzards, Sundae Drivers, Affogato...

You name it, 
I've eaten it.
... and I loved it, too.

But I was humbled this week when my friend, Rhona,
took me out for a treat in her birthplace of Linlithgow, Scotland.

side note: Linlithgow is also the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots, 
... and the lakeside castle ruins are great to explore.




Linlithgow is a charming village
 (somewhere near Stirling & Edinburgh)
full of swans, signets ("baby swans"), 
& golden sunsets...
 that may or may not remind you of The Notebook.




After a walk around the lake,
Rhona took us to Cabrelli's.

As you approach the doors of Cabrelli's,
your senses will be assaulted by the. .. err... perfume
 of their well-seasoned deep fryer.

As the shop is mainly a "chippie,"
serving fish & chips, fried chicken, fried sausages & burgers (!!!),
Cabrelli's has a greasy smell that finds you kind of disgusted... 

kind of reminiscent of Long John Silvers...

... and kind of hungry.

Obviously, the latter won out for me 
after meeting Lawrence Cabrelli.




As the grandson of the shop's original owner,
Lawrence still makes a daily batch 
of his grandfather's secret homemade ice cream.

Only sold in vanilla,
this ice cream will overcome any skeptism 
that your initial impressions of the chippy might have brought you.

And to my delight,
Lawrence offered to make me a slider.

Nope. Not that kind of slider. 

The other kind.

The Scottish kind.




The kind of slider that has
two scoops of homemade vanilla ice cream
sitting prestigiously atop 
a chocolate dipped wafer
 filled with a creamy, marshmallow, center.

So, yeah, basically the best thing ever.

I left a happy customer
who will now be forever scanning ice cream shoppes 
for any mention of "sliders."




Anyone up for recreating a recipe for me?

I may not make it back to Scotland soon enough...


Oxford English Dictionary- Volume 5


Desserts are pretty important to me.

So it as soon as bank accounts, phone contracts, rent, & employment 
were settled after our move to England,
I decided it was time 
to get on local terms with the sweet stuff here....

but it was all a bit of a doozey.

Things looked familiar...

....and they sounded familiar

....but they just weren't the same.

Learning to work my way through menus 
that included curious items like
non sweet pies full of steak & ale
could be headache (& tummy ache) inducing!



These days when it's time to indulge in a sweet treat,
I've really got my legs under me.

....though they're a bit chubbier than they were before.



Black to Basics


If you're a wanderlust like myself
(which I'm glad to know many of you are!)...
your eyes are always peeled for great finds
that can accompany you on future trips.

Versatile, basic pieces 
that are easy to pack...
while packing some punch.

(Because who doesn't want to look cute in your trip pictures?)

I seem to default to black.

Especially if it's a well-made piece,
it flatters me more than that one guy from your college math class,
and it didn't cost more than my flight.

{Well... unless, I'm flying RyanAir.}

marc jacobs laptop case ($198) | ysl mascara in noir ($35)
onyx earrings ($175) | philosophy body emulsion ($41)
ysl sandals ($414)... ok, these are a bit pricey. | splendid maxi tube skirt ($81) 





Monday Moods: I feel... Lochy.


Touring Scotland can sometimes leave you feeling a bit

... soggy, bloated, & cold...

But after a few days in the Highlands,
I'm only feeling glorious!

Our weekend on the Isle of Skye shocked me.

Literally, I never expected such sites here in the United Kingdom...

(and you know how much I love the United Kingdom.)

Dramatic hills, lush mountains sprinkled with Highland Coo's & sheep,
dreamy castles sitting cozily in the middle of a lake, 
small fishing towns that seemed pleasantly situated in times past,
& so much Cullen Skink (local Haddock chowder),  
even the most opposed eater-of-fish could become a convert.

But the most impressive sites were the lakes.

Err, excuse me...
the lochs.

Our weekend was full of random pit-stops
that found us standing in silence 
with our mouthes open & our cameras clicking
at the mirrored expanse sprawling before us.

As if one version of the scenery wasn't pretty enough-
the stillness of the water in the sunshine
gave us a bit of double vision.

How lucky!



trying to imitate this picture that i love

cruising loch ness looking for nessie... no luck here.

there she is! (at the visitor's centre) 

sunset at 10:30 pm at night on the isle of skye. crazy, right?

the prettiest sunset i've seen in a while. isle of skye.

lochs of love



*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Kiss Me Kate.


via

Seriously.

This makes me have a crush on Kate Middleton. 

Err, I mean...
the Duchess of Cambridge.

Our royal couple is looking so svelte & gorgeous...
they might put Brangelina on the run.

But what would we call them?

Wate?
Kill?

Yeah, err...

Maybe just Duke & Duchess will do for now.

One Fish, Two Fish...


Yesterday I posted about poolside pedicures.
Today, I'll continue that thread
by introducing you to the newest "thing" here in the UK:

fish pedicures.

Have you seen these?



These "pedicures" claim to be from Asia
(though as I've never been, I can't speak with authority),
and instead of soaking your toes in bubbles and sea salt-
your feet go into a clear tank 
(also known as "aquariums")
where a hundred or so tiny little fish 
are waiting to meet... and eat them.

Yes, these baby fish EAT the dead skin off your feet.

After 10 or 20 minutes 
(depending on how long you purchased),
you're feet are "done" and have been rid of callouses and are baby soft.

No further treatments given...
no nail trimming or polishing,
no ten-minute massage. 

Nada.

I asked one girl, who was getting her feet feasted on, how it felt:
"It kinda tickles. Not too bad after a while, but it just kind of feels weird."

I would imagine.

These "shops" are in every mall atrium,
popping up in ever vacant retail store available,
unabashedly littering my Groupon emails,
and even getting floor space in prime stores like Top Shop on Oxford Street.

(I did buy one off Groupon. I'll let you know how it goes when I go!)

The whole phenomenon is a bit remniscent of the
frozen yogurt trend that happened in the states in 2009.

Sadly, the "Yogurt Splash," "Ling's Yogurt Lounge," & "Yogilicous" are now gone...
but honestly, how much frozen yogurt did anyone expect us to consume to support so many shops?

So call me a prophet, if you'd like,
but I would like to predict that two years from now,
these feet feasting fishies will be gone...
and we will all have returned to our normal routine
of spa chairs, calf massages, & polish.

(As one friend noted: I hope the sushi industry doesn't start soaring...)

Have you ever had one of these pedicures? 
Tell me about it!
If not, would you give it a try?
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