The Olympic Opening Ceremony: LIVE.

Last night, we struck Olympic gold
and got to attend the opening ceremony
for the 2012 games here in London.

While I'm sure you watched them
and don't need a tour of what happened,
I am offering a peek at the ceremony 
from our view...

which was a view behind the big tree.

{Well, just above it actually... you'll see.}

So we got the park really easily.

{Bravo, London, for being so freaking organized. Public transportation was a dream.}

We breezed through security,
not because of a lack of screening
but due to the massive amount of screening lanes.

We wandered through the park 
got to giggle at what people were wearing...

... got to eat some bad food at the park
{which, I have learned, is a universal misfortune}

.... and then we kinda just wanted to go to our seats
and get this party started.

Who didn't love the Pandemonium scene 
when the English countryside
transformed into the industrialized city of London?

I got chills.

Then the NHS/British Lit part was fantastic...
Mary Poppins, Death Eaters, Captain Hook,
all of it was perfect!

{I was hoping that everyone in America stressing about socialized healthcare
paid attention to how happy the UK is about it
to have done a song & dance in it's honor!}

The Queen "parachuting" into the games...
the best Bond girl I've ever seen.

Tyler waving his "pixels" around during a light feature. They trained us before hand. :) 

The countries entry parade got, well, boring.
We didn't have commentators or commercials to help up through that one.

Then the flame was fantastic!

Beckham driving a boat?
The music?
The transforming torch?


And the crowd was pretty fun, too.

We made a few friends... like this guy, Ian.
{Who, as you may suspect, was off his head drunk.}

We didn't get home till almost 2:30,
but it was so worth it to have made such wonderful memories!

How did you celebrate the opening of the 2012 Olympics?

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Hello Dahl-ing.

Did anyone else love Roald Dahl as much as I did? 

My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Saffold, used to read to us
every day after lunch & recess.

We would storm in from lunch in a loud, sweaty mess
and he would have us sit around him on the carpet 
as he read to us Roald Dahl.

He would use funny voices for each of the characters 
and place agonizing pauses in the most unbearable of scenes.

He would spend twenty minutes transporting us 
into the magical worlds only Dahl could craft
and our obnoxiousness melted into unbreakable focus & silence.

{What Miss Honey was to Matilda, so Mr. Saffold was to me.}

The BFG, Danny Champion of the World, James & The Giant Peach...

I just hope some day my kids love them as much as I did.

Or I may have to go all "Witches" on them and turn them into mice.

What was your favorite Roald Dahl story?

Stop by my guest blog at Jim's Mixed Grill today
where I kick off the Olympic festivities. His recipes are amazing...
and will give you a great resource for nights you want to outsource dinner to your grill master.

Olympic Sprint

The Olympics are almost here, y'all.

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

The Winter Olympics are pretty cool...
but let's be honest,
the Summer Olympics are the Mary 
and the Winter Olympics are the Rhoda.

(Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion reference, anyone?)

The city of London looks so great. 

In fact, I'm almost equally excited about enjoying London after the Olympics
when all the people leave and all the upgraded public spaces are "mine" to enjoy.

With the opening of the Olympic traffic lanes
and the pulsing addition of visitors to the city,
it's obvious that it's happening soon.

We have our tickets ready,
we've planned out our routes,
and all we need now are some temporary tattoos of American flags
and some face paint and we'll be ready to do this.

We scored tickets to four events:
water polo, football (read: soccer), women's field hockey,
and, as of today, the opening ceremonies!


If you are in London and need some tickets-
I have several to get rid of for July 31's game
where Great Britain's Women play Brazil in football! £60 each. 
Email me, if you're interested or share it with friends that may be in town!

I'll be instagram'ing (aspiringkennedy), facebooking & tweeting the whole time
if you want to catch an inside peek of the 2012 games.

Are you an Olympic fanatic
or are they nothing more than a disruption for your regular shows?

What events are your must-sees?

Midnight Ellum

You know how you know certain people 
from a long time ago...
and regardless of how many years pass,
 you still see them as the same person they were when you first met?

They are kinda immortalized in that younger version of themselves
when the only direction you both had in life 
was towards Sonic Happy Hour.

And most of the time, you see them through those lenses,
except for random moments when the fog is lifted 
and you see them for the person they are today....

and you realize, dang, actually your friend is amazing.

That's how I feel today after watching the video my friend, Laura, posted.

I mean, I knew she picked up playing the bass when we worked together in Dallas,
I knew she started a band called The Black Frames with her brother, Tommy, & friend, Patrick,
but between living an ocean apart and her being incredibly humble,
that's about all I knew...

Until today when I watched this video of her band's new song, Midnight Ellum.

And it's totally awesome.

Three cheers for friends who grow into the best versions of themselves.

What's the best new song you've heard this summer?


So I watched Food Inc last night.

I'm about a year late to the party on this one,

It's something you need to watch
to help you seriously evaluate what you are eating.

Now, now...
don't roll your eyes at me
because I'm that girl
who is constantly filling up your newsfeed with food porn.

I'm not someone who lives by rigid diets
or can promise that I am intentional about everything I eat.

BUT, I make sure that whenever I eat something-
it's not overly processed.

I pay a little more to get a little less food
because I want to consume for food that is a higher standard.

And after watching FOOD Inc, I'm even more committed to this idea.

It's so important to support food industries that produce pure food.

I used to think we did it to help them, 
you know- support the poor little farmer & his farm.
But I've come to realize that we need to support local farmers
for the very selfish reason that our bodies need "real" food.

The US doesn't make it easy for the average family to make this choice, I know...
I noticed this when I offered to replicate the same meal I make here almost every week 
while home in the States over Christmas.

Here in England, I can roast a free-range chicken, make a salad, 
roast various organic vegetables, get a baguette & butter all for £10.

It cost me $50 to buy the same things at Whole Foods in the States.

But the standard is just so different in the UK
because the people don't put up with lower quality food.

And they might gag if the stumbled upon 
a 10 foot space section of a grocery store devoted entirely to Pop Tarts.

Anyway, it's a lot to think about...
but it's worth your time to consider.

In the meantime, here is something that you can make that is simple & delicious.

I adapted it from the amazing risotto Helena made me recently for dinner.

I know risotto can be daunting if you've never made it,
but, please, don't fear the risotto... embrace it. 

Ingredients, serves 4:

four or five cups of chicken broth/stock
an onion, finely chopped
a clove or two of minced garlic
2 cups of arborio rice
1.5 cups (or a small bottle) of Champagne... or any sparkling white wine you can find afford
a bit of kosher salt
pinch of black pepper
a cup of fresh parmesan (no, not the kind from the can. the real kind.)
a handful of mushrooms, sliced (optional)
a bunch of asparagus, cut in segments & washed really well to get all crunchy dirt bits off (a tragic mistake I made the first time I made this)
lemon (but only if you have one lying around)


Get a pot of warm chicken stock simmering on your stove.
Melt a small chunk of butter in a separate stockpot over medium-high heat.
Add in a chopped onion & your garlic. Cook until the onion is transparent.
Now add in the rice and stir until the rice starts to look transparent- about 5 minutes.

Add your champagne. Stir & allow the rice to absorb the liquid.
Now ladle in a cup of warm chicken stock.
Stir in the stock. Continuously stir until the stock is absorbed.
Continue this step several times until the rice is softened upon taste... you may think it will never happen, but it will! It just takes some love & about twenty minutes. Just keep stirring & loving on it.

Meanwhile in a skillet, toss in the lardons (pancetta/bacon/whatever). Let it brown.
Remove the bacon- add the asparagus & mushrooms. Let them cook in the leftover bacon goodness
& a splash of the chicken stock. It will help soften them up as they cook. 
Squeeze a lemon wedge over them for a bit of extra flavor.

When the rice is cooked, but is still slightly firm, take it off the heat. 
Grate in your parmesan. Toss in salt to taste. Throw in pepper.
Now, add in the bacon, mushrooms & asparagus. Stir to combine. 

Serve yourself a manly portion. Feel like a lady. 

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
**no, i'm not a dietician or politician. please don't hold me accountable to have the knowledge of one.

Rome Again, Rome Again... Jiggity Jig

Is "Home again, Home again, Jiggity Jig" an actual phrase...
or did my mother just make it up as something to say
when we would pull into the driveway upon returning home from a trip?

As I type this, I think it must be the latter.

More Rome pictures, if the first batch wasn't enough for you.

Do you know what is cool about traveling to these places
and posting about them here on my blog?

I get to see how it refreshes memories that each of you have
for different trips you have taken.

I love hearing about what you did,
what sweet people you met,
how you still long for a particular dish...

As someone who treasures those memories immensely,
I really love when you share yours with me.

I'd love to hear your favorite memory from Rome today,
or if you have yet to visit the "Eternal City," 
what you are dreaming of doing when you get there?

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

There's No Place Like Rome

It seems that almost every time I put up a post 
that pertains to a recent trip or upcoming plans,
someone leaves a comment that asks
how I physically manage to do all I do.

I'm typically not really sure how to reply to this
because the truth is,
I'm always so excited about seeing whatever/whoever
that I don't get worn out.

But this week,
I'm pretty tired.

I've been cashing in on my nights at home with trash tv and not blogging.


Except today, I rallied...
I got up early & edited photos throughout the morning...
because even though I'm still pretty whipped,
I'm too excited not to show you 
how awesome my girls weekend in Rome was.

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day,
so no blog post should be confined to one day either...
more on our adventure tomorrow!

Yes, it was a lovely time.

Going with a foodie took me to a few places that were amazing & quirky. 

My new favorite is Nonna Betta.
The next time you head to Rome, I hope you'll stop by here and try something amazing.

Nonna Betta: In the old Jewish quarter (in the first "ghetto"), there is a slew of Kosher/Italian kitchens.
the creations there are nothing short of wonderful. 
I recommend Nonna Betta- which is a kosher "style" kitchen, 
meaning they don't strictly follow the milk/meat separation
and are open on Saturdays.

When you go, don't miss the Jewish style artichokes which are lightly fried & salted.
The salmon carpaccio is light & flavorful garnished with olive oil, pink pepper & orange slices. 
And the pasta to try is the understated but overwhelmingly tasty taglioni cacio, pepe & cicoria
made with local cheese, pepper & hickory.

For the rest of my Roman favorites...
well, you'll have to wait till tomorrow.

A domani!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

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