Birds of a Feather: Finding Your Online Community

It wasn't too long ago that I started blogging.

It's getting close to three years,
but really- that isn't much in "blog years."

When I jumped into blogging,
I thought I was late to the game...
but it seems that every day, 
 new bloggers are creating accounts,
picking out their blog titles, 
and trying to find their place in this (amazing) community.

And then after a few months 
they realize-
blogging is a bit harder than it looks.

At that point, people either quit
or email bloggers who are a bit more established 
asking how they grew their blog
and what advice they can pass on to a new blogger.

How do I know this?

Because not only does this happen to me now,
but it happened BY me when I was a new blogger... a lot.

I would email some HUGE bloggers,
chat to them like we were old chums (because I thought we should be),
and asking them how to make my blog bigger...
which now kinda makes me feel embarrassed.

(Sidenote: Though their kind correspondence taught me an invaluable lesson
in never being too cool for anyone... 
I mean, I was writing the BIG bloggers
and they were taking their precious time to write me back.)

Asking someone how to grow your blog
is a bit a loaded question
because it's a really simple answer
that is actually pretty complex to carry through.

All you need is, in theory, a unique voice & consistent posting...
but then after that, you need a community
and that's when I started to think about my blogging friends.

Most of the "friends" that I have in blogging 
are bloggers that I connected with early on in my blogging days.

As we all started to grow our own little sites,
we would read/comment/support each other
and they would do the same back for us.

Now after we have all grown
(in various directions and topics),
there remains a bond of loyalty
because we started together.

It feels like your friends from high school,
no matter how much you might have changed-
you know who they were "before" all of that
and you know that they like you for who you really are.

So, new bloggers, if you feel like you aren't connecting-
here is my advice for you:

Get to know people who have blogs that are in similar stages of your own.

Support them, cheer them on, make them a part of your daily routine...
and over time, you'll find that you will have a support network that does the same for you.

Who are some of the bloggers that you still have from your "early" days?

Some of my "oldest" friends are: 

Photography by the ridiculously talented, Aaron Snow.

Pack Your Bags: Reykjavic, Iceland

I know, I know...
those pictures from Iceland
made you want to throw on eight layers of clothes,
pull out your fuzziest boots,
and book a ticket east to Iceland.

I mean, it even made me want to go...
and I had just got back like the night before.

It's understandable.

The place is crazy gorgeous.

There are tons of places to visit outside the capital city, Reykjavic,
but it's inevitable to become the main hub for most trips to Iceland.

Unless you're some hardcore mountain climber or deep-sea fisherman,
which, no offense, I'm not sure that any of us are.


We stayed at the Hotel Odinsve.

It's not crazy expensive in Icelandic prices,
it's really well located right off the main drag 
and near the famous Lutheran church,  Hallgrimskirkja.

The hotel has really nice staff,
and for larger groups- offers some swankily-outfitted apartments.


In my opinion, I think the best part of Iceland is outside the capitol.
Iceland s beauty is in the waterfalls, the hiking, the hot springs...
and so this list is a little shorter than most other city guides.

I mean, the country may have thousands of years of history...
but Reykjavic is a bit too small & new to offer cultural competition
 for cities like Paris & Rome.

I'll be posting a full list of the places outside the city,
but for now, ladies and gents, my favorites from Reykjavic.

This famous church has become an icon for this city
since it's recent completion in 1986.

Designed to look like the distinct basalt rocks 
found so often around Iceland,
this Lutheran church is a warm and welcoming sight
for tourists wandering around Reykjavic.

Say hi to the famous explorer Leif Eriksson on your way in,

Learn about the famous Icelandic Sagas at this museum 
locatedon the outskirts of town 
 at the modern building called "The Pearl..."
You'll probably have to take a taxi to get to.

After you work your way through the gory stories
that have become so legendary in Icelandic folklore
{some of which seem very cool and some which seem a bit outlandish}
make it up to the top floor to the cafe and panoramic deck.

Go for a walk around the outer viewing platform for amazing views of Reykjavic,
take silly pictures of yourself in the reflective mirror...
and then head inside to the cafe for a cup of coffee to warm back up.

(To be fair, this museum is better for the literary nerds than random tourists.)


Beyond the rainbows & glaciers,
the main surprise I discovered here
was how good the food in Reykjavic...

You won't go hungry here,
though you may go broke from the exchange rate.

Tucking in and out of good eateries
is the perfect activity while wandering through
this chilly little town.

Right across the street from Hotel Odinsve,
there is the cutest coffee shop
with some of the best food in the world.

Ok, perhaps I'm slightly exaggerating there, 
but I'm not lying when I say their coconut cake can not be topped.

It's inexplicable...
and totally acceptable as a breakfast food.

The oldest coffee shop in Iceland
has a quiet mellow vibe
and some delicious coffee.

Go feel like an Icelandic hipster
and hang out there with a tatty paperback for a few hours.

If fish & puffin start feeling a little heavy on your stomach,
and you need some good old grease to get you back in business:

Go to the Roadhouse.

It's a 5-10 minute walk from the main street in town
and has some crazy burger concoctions,
like the one I got...
a burger topped with macaroni & cheese and bacon.

I don't regret anything about that experience,
except that I could only stomach half of it.

Next time.

And they have really good milkshakes.

The peanut butter one almost made me meow.

Ok, so you've made it all the way to Iceland.

{Well done.}

It's time to get crazy and eat some crazy Icelandic cuisine.

This tiny place is a favorite of Chef Jamie Oliver
and when you look at the menu, 
you'll know why.

Shark sashimi?
Whale steak?
Puffin tarts?
Reindeer medallions?
Horse tenderloin?

The whale steak at Prir Frakkar. Not for the small-stomached.

Oh my goodness. 
It's not just kitschy,
but it's also really good!

I'd make a reservation 
or plan on going before 7pm.

The small space will fill up with locals 
and well-guided tourists soon thereafter.

Located down on the water by the docks & whale-watching boats
sits the humble little restaurant, Seabarons.

The no-frills restaurant offers a short menu
of freshly caught kebabs
(that you literally choose out of the fridge & they cook)
or their legendary Lobster Soup.

The soup comes with, approximately, 500 slices of bread & butter...
and the coffee in the dispenser is free.

Take your giant cup of chunky lobster soup and mug down!

On the Iceland Air flights,
they have an ad that plays on your personal tv
that says that the most popular restaurant in Reykjavic
is a hot dog stand.

After you find out where that is
and sit there for 20 minutes
while car after car pull into the tiny parking space
and dudes hop out to nosh down a dog,
you start to realize how true it is.

The Icelandic people love their hotdogs,
and they were, literally, the cheapest hot meal I saw the entire time.

It's a pretty routine formula:
bun, dog, raw onion, fried onion,
mustard, ketchup & some remoulade.

It is pretty tasty.

I only had one.

My husband on the other hand cleared a dozen during our time in Iceland.

It was somewhat impressive 
and completely disgusting all at the same time.


Now there are the facts as I know them
and now,  I need to know one thing from you:
 Who's going back to Reykjavic with me next fall?

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

FAQ: We're Having Twins

The fact that we are having TWO babies this March
is the basis of some hilarious conversations.

Between us, between our families, between our friends...
oh my goodness.

The craziness that is in store for us,
I just can not imagine...
and I can't really wait either.

After knowing for a few months about this huge addition,
I've become a bit of a pro on answering some of the common questions.

Here they are:

Oh, twins? Were you on fertility treatment?


We are having "spontaneous" twins,
as our doctors and midwives call them...
though that sounds like we had more say in the process
then is actually true.

It wasn't a whimsical decision we made.

Promise. :)

{But honestly... it is the FIRST question a lot of  people ask. Bizarre.}

Do twins run in your family?

Oh, yes.

My mom has them littered throughout her family tree.

Her mom had some, her grandma had them,
and her aunt had one pair of fraternal twins on October 3rd...
and then a second pair of fraternal twins the next year on October 3rd.

It makes me start to sweat just to type that.

Do you know if they are identical or non-identical?

Yep. We know!

They are "non-identical" twins.

Do you know the genders?

Not for another two weeks...
but I think it's a boy & a girl.

And I want them to look just like that.

So there.

My guess is officially on the record.

Tyler thinks the same.... we'll see who right/wrong we are soon.

What's the different in identical & fraternal twins?

Identical twins: One egg splits and makes two little people that are adorably... the same. Kinda.

Fraternal/Non-Identical: Two eggs get fertilized and grow at the same time. 

Basically, I'm having two totally different kids, at once. 

Okay, imagine you and your sibling. 

Now imagine if you both had the same birthday. 
That's the jist of what is happening here. 
Two birds.... One nest?

Wondering if twins might run in your family, too?

Here are the basic rules of "inheriting" the twin gene:

1. Only fraternal (UK: "non-identical twins") are hereditary.

Identical twins are the result of an inexplicable happening
(the egg splitting after fertilization)
and, because of the randomness, isn't something that passes down.

With that said, fraternal twins are the only type of twins that you can "inherit."

2. Twins only pass down through females.

Since fraternal twins are the only type of hereditary twins,
either your body spits them out at a normal rate
or you have overly-hyper ovaries and spits out more than one egg.

The bottom line is, boys have no part in the equation of passing on twins.

Who knew, right? 
Not me.

Well, that's all the personal information & science I have to share for the day.

Do you have personal info or biological facts 
that you'd like to share with the class?

Congratulations to Betsy (Heavens to Me) for winning the giveaway!
Please email me with your shipping information.

*image 1

An Aspiring Kennedy's Postcard Collection

I don't buy a lot of souvenirs when we travel.

My husband is too cheap to let me shop at will,
and I've gotten tired of lugging it home.

But one thing I always snag
is a kissing picture.

My sisters are so over them,
but I can't help it.

I was inspired by a picture on our honeymoon
and then a few months later,
lucked out with having this moment snapped 
on our first trip to Italy
feeding the birds in St. Mark's Square in Venice.

Venice, Italy 2007

Almost six years later,
and it's my favorite picture.

Here are some others that I think are pretty great.

Stonehenge 2011
Gimmelwald, Switzerland 2012
Lanzarote, Canary Islands 2010
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 2012
Olympia, Greece 2011

I might have to do another round of these soon.

I have quite the archive of these silly moments.

{It's easy to tell which ones are iPhone & which ones aren't, isn't it?}

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Instagram does Iceland.


Part Two of the visual feast
from our recent trip to Iceland
courtesy of Instagram's glorious filters.

The Blue Lagoon- A total bucket list item. Check!

We don't take mountain travel lightly. (PS I'm 5'10'')
See that? That's where we spent the night in the mountains. No electricity. Outside WC. Hot grill with lots of lamb.

A blissful day on the glacier lagoon. It was unreal... and I was probably freaking out a little.
Dining al fresco for lunch. Not so shabby.
Planning to head to Iceland in the future?

I'm working on a guide of my favorite places
to help you plan your vacation...
or to kick-start your dreaming.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
**follow me on instagram: aspiringkennedy

The New Term for An Aspiring Kennedy

After our big (and bigger) announcement last week,
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer here on my blog.

I know, I'm not showing at all. Hoping to graduate over the "ate too much lunch" look soon.

These little chunks are, undeniably, going to be a big part of my life
and Tyler & I are constantly chatting about what their addition in our lives will bring.

But I'm not expecting you to make them a huge part of your life, too.

 I'll try to keep my blog content generally the same formula.

European living + travel + love (family & friends) + spontaneous ramblings = AK

And when if sometimes I do overdo it in the months ahead
by posting too many baby pictures
because, instead of being in three countries that month,
I've only been to the mall and the park,
I know you'll be supportively indulgent for me...
and remember that I really don't want to be *that* girl.

I still want to be myself.

That chummy ex-pat girl who loves her husband,
feels lucky to have a job that meaningfully impacts her students,
wears too much fur and oversized jewelry,
 and constantly dreams of her next adventure & changing the world.

I'm just glad I get to share all of that with these two tiny souls.

Trick-Or-Treat Giveaway {& FOURSALE}

Today I had a talk with people
who were dismissing Halloween 
as a yucky holiday
 full of dark celebrations and decorations.

I couldn't help but get a little defensive
to the verbal attack of such a special day.

Not only did I find this holiday to be 
one of the best family events of the year,
but I kinda like the creepiness that comes along with it.

All the silly decorations
and spooky party themes 
just seem right as the weather changes.

It all seems to fit the chilly weather perfectly.

You know what else fits this chilly weather?

This gold satchel,

a black & gold skull scarf,

...some navy British tights (they make them best here!),
a really cool pair of over the knee socks,
and some cuddly slippers for cozying up indoors.

And that's why I bought them all for one of you
as a fun little treat for stopping by my place this month.

Instead of the classic line of "Trick-Or-Treat,"
all you have to do to win this bag of treats
is leave a favorite Halloween memory below.

Snag an additional entry for each
if you follow me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

I'll pick a winner at random on Friday, 19 October.

{Must be a follower to win. Gotta take care of my peeps.}


AND in response to the white infinity scarf that I religiously wear in the cold,
I have now purchased it's black counterpart.

It's a little larger, a little softer, and a little bit better smelling.

{Editor's Note: I really need to wash mine more often.}

I really can not wait to wear it way too often in the months ahead.

 Since so many readers have asked me where I got the first one (H&M, 2010),
I thought I'd help out this time by grabbing a few extras for you.

First come, first served.

Slow international shipping will be used to keep shipping down,
so expect a few weeks before your purchase arrives.

No refunds available, so please purchase carefully!


*All images via instagram. Username: aspiringkennedy
**Obviously, these aren't the real McQueen & Cambridge Satchel... just "inspired" pieces. :)

It's Time You Head to Iceland.

In the midst of all the baby mama drama I've been causing lately,
it's important to remember
that I've been in Iceland having a pretty amazing time.

{I'm probably headed home to London as you read this post.}

This new trip was the brilliant idea of my colleagues 
in efforts to add a new dimension to our fall calendar.

{Fact: I work with some of the coolest people on the planet.}

When they approached me with the idea,
I was, obviously, not mad about the addition in the slightest.


I'll have more of an official guide to Iceland coming up later,
but just consider this part one 
of an amuse-bouche for our Iceland trip.


Pretty self-explanatory, right?

Yes, I went horseback riding. It was supposed to be an easy kiddie ride that they said would be fine "in my condition."
Until my (freaking idiot) horse decided to sprint down a ravine about a quarter of a mile,
leaving me to hold on with my legs... no real saddles here in Iceland to lean onto.

Obviously, I regret putting myself in this situation, but God completely protected me from getting seriously hurt.
 My thighs are obscenely bruised and Tyler has begun a campaign to eat horses. (Joking).
Gorgeous waterfall at Skogafoss.
This may or may not have been my breakfast two days in a row. (Read: totally was.)

Lobster soup from Reykjavic's famous, Seabarons.

 I've been here for 10 days
and I'm still trying to digest all I have seen...
this country is overwhelmingly larger than life.

I've posted most of these pictures on Instagram
and have been keeping up with that way
while we have been on the road.

What? You're not on Instagram?
It's probably time you change that.

{My username is: aspiringkennedy}

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
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