The Babies Kennedy: The Bassinet's Half Full

Dear Friends,

It's with puffy eyes
and an exhausted brain
that I type this post out.

Saturday, I gave birth to our twins
at St. Mary's Hospital in London.

For unforeseen circumstances
-and fortunately for my future sanity, unpreventable-
we are now back home 
settling into our new life 
with only one of them.

While we are devastated 
by the unexpected loss 
of our second twin
{who we'll always refer to as our little "Baby B"},
we are completely enamored
by her sister's presence in our life.

While the world may seem different today than it did 5 days ago,
it, amazingly, somehow still feels better
now that we have this child in our life...

In spite of the moments of deepest heartache
that well up at the remembrance of our previous expectations
and the site of a second pair or ruffled socks
or the empty car seat sitting attached to our stroller,
Tyler & I find ours hearts bursting with love & pride
over the life of our sweet daughter.

This amazing pregnancy was never ours to begin with...
it's been a gift we were given from the very beginning.

While we ache over losing our little girl,
we feel exceptionally blessed to walk away from it all
with my health restored
and a daughter.

We are thankful that God was merciful enough
to give us two babies from the start....
where would we be at this moment had he not?

While we can see this moment as one of the darkest of our lives,
we are trying to enjoy finding the joy in it.

So last night, we decided
that we are going to celebrate that,
in spite of this sad loss,
that the bassinet is half-full.


I hope that as I begin to wrap my head 
around the last few days,
I'll be able to share more with you...

But for now I just wanted to express my thanks
for those that have written and worried,
your concern for our lives really does mean so much.

And I'd also like to introduce you to our daughter,
she's absolutely perfect.

Lauren & Tyler


While I fall a bit off the radar 
as our families & friends help us adjust to new life,
I hope you'll enjoy the posts 
that I wrote before delivery
regarding some of my favorite places
 to travel & enjoy tea time in London.

As much as I'd love to help with travel emails & questions,
I know you understand my need to focus elsewhere.

Thanks for all of your generous and selfless support for our family,
I can't articulate how much it means.

Between The Sheets: Peacock Alley

In the short span of my life,
I've learned that there are few things
that can subtly let you know
when someone is of a higher pedigree.

A few of these tell-tale signs can include
(but are not limited to):

well-made Italian driving shoes...

having a cousin who dated a Kennedy...

casual references to childhood au-pairs & yacht captains...

&, of course, 
those with fantastically luxe bed linens.


There is something intangible about crawling into a cool bed
made with crisp, expensive sheets.

It gives you that same feeling you get
when you hand a valet your keys,
lounge in a spa robe waiting for a massage,
or get upgraded to first class.

You just feel... fancy.

So today, I am very happy to offer one of you
this upgrade into first-class daily life...
a set of luxury bed sheets from Peacock Alley.

I know, I know...
bed sheets?

Sounds a bit... everyday,
but if you aren't familiar with this line, 
you'll want to be soon.

These babies are the Birkin bag of bed sheets
made of 100% Egyptian cotton...

Being a Dallas girl,
I've always had a huge respect for this line
and the gorgeous work that they do.

And now,
one of you will get to hop in bed
with some of there newest collection,
and win a set of your choice of color
in sheets & pillow shams.

{Honestly, I am so jealous of whoever wins this.

Just promise me if you win,
one Sunday morning when you lounging in bed
with a breakfast tray and newspaper,
you'll raise that mimosa and toast to the Aspiring Kennedy...

Winner will be drawn Friday, March 1, 2013.

Good luck!

Apartment Therapy & Our Love Nest

There are a few things I established firmly 
during my early twenties on my 
"in my wildest dreams" list.

One was living in Europe.

One was being cool enough to have a home 
that could be on a site like Apartment Therapy.

One was being best friends with Tina Fey.

I'm glad to say that the first did arrive.

And while the third is in the works
{read: not happening in this lifetime},
the second one did come true today.

Yes, friends,
our tiny abode is now live on Apartment Therapy.

(One of this blogger's favorite sites ever.)


Ever since the early days of blogging,
I've loved this site
so getting to have our tiny home featured on 
such an amazing site
is beyond flattering.

I'm pretty much as excited as Liz Lemon on Italian sub day.

I'd love for you to click through and take a peek out our home
{including the darling nursery that Pulp Design Studios created for us}...
and if you want to leave a comment, I'd think that'd be pretty awesome, too.

Don't expect fabulous swanky furniture
and pricey designer decor...
this is, after all, only the Aspiring Kennedy's home.

{Read: We happily orbit in the real world.}

Thanks Apartment Therapy
& Eleanor for the sweet feature.

You made my life day!

Pack Your Bags: Parisian Day Trip

A couple of weeks ago,
Tyler & I had to run to Paris
for a quick day trip for work.

{Yes, I agree. My boss should be sainted for giving me tasks like this.}

As glorious as Paris is in the summer & spring,
I really like it in the cold, too.

It reminds me of living there last spring.

The cold and loneliness of the city
during these frigid winter months 
offers an appealing charm to me.

Plus, the sales are amazing at this time of year.

The Babies Kennedy made out like bandits at Monoprix.

{I also scored the coat in my maternity pictures for €30 then, too.}

It was a quick trip,
and was the perfect little day trip
for these parents-to-be
relishing their last few days of "freedom."

We had a long lunch 
over hot onion soup & quiche
at a cute place
about 15 minutes walk away from the Louvre
just on the Left Bank.

{In case you're interested: Comptoir Des Saints-Peres
29 Rue Des Saint-Peres, 75006}

We savoured things that we knew would be luxuries 
in the weeks/months/years ahead.

We shopped a little...
we took our time wandering around in the cold...
we walked up and down metro station stairs with ease...
and then we had our favorite steak-frites
before hopping the Eurostar back to London.

The next time we arrive in the city of lights,
it will be as a foursome.

Which may mean it will be a scenario as chaotic 
as the metro at 1am on a Saturday night,
but it also sounds...
well, pretty fantastic.

32W6D- Parisian Style

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Traveling to Paris?
Check out my guide to the city here.

If You Love Someone... Make Them These Banana Bars

Monday night, my southern roots were in full form
as I hosted a Valentine's Day Cookie Exchange.

Each invitee brought 2 dozen homemade cookies
and by the time everyone had arrived and gotten cozy,
it looked like we had landed ourselves 
inside some fantasy land of a seven year old.

We were up to our ears in cookies...
it was glorious!

I'm typically someone who would not try to do a practice run on a recipe.

My instinct is to just wing it
and, normally, things turn out okay.

But this weekend, 
I decided-
what the heck,
I'm as big as a house
and am not in the mood to go anywhere...
so I made a batch of these Biscoff Blondies.


They were so marginal and boring...
and while I'm really glad that I didn't offer them to my guests,
it left me in a bit of a panic on Monday afternoon 
to find a replacement.

I needed something easy to make
that didn't require a proper mixer....
because my Kitchenaid doesn't live in London.

{It lives in a pile of dust in my parent's attic
along with all of my crystal, china & other pretty things.}

My blood tests the night before showed that my potassium levels were running high
and so I realized that this might be the perfect way to use up the bananas
that I was no longer allowed to eat.


I now present to you a DELICIOUS recipe
that is soooo easy to make
and the ingredients are really cheap.

{I always hate shelling out £20 for ingredients for baked goods. 
Doesn't that kinda defeat the purpose of making them at home?}

I think these probably took about 5-7 minutes 
from beginning to oven.

The frosting might have added another 5 minutes at the end.

Honestly, this recipe is a winner
and would be an easy thing to whip up tonight
to give to someone you love tomorrow.

{Besides, you most likely have 99% of these ingredients in your kitchen already.}

1 cup sugar
2 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 regular pack of (light) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup of butter
2 cups powdered sugar
splash of vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350.
Mix the bananas, sugar, eggs & oil together in a bowl until it's a nice yellow, sloppy mix.
Stir in remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon & salt).
Pour into greased pan (9x13) and put into oven for 25-30 minutes... 
or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean when inserted from the center.
Leave to cool for one hour.
Now is great time to toss the cream cheese & butter out on the counter to soften.

After you've run an errand, eaten some lunch or watched a little tv
while the banana bars cool,
come back to the kitchen and start on the frosting.
Mix all four ingredients in a bowl.
You can beat by hand or in a mixer... both will be yummy.

Spread on the cooled bars & cut into 6x4 rows.
Eat your heart out.



Wouldn't you feel loved if someone made you these?

Oh yeah.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
*original recipe via here

Their Daddy's Mouth (Volume 2)

In efforts to compliment
the other post I had wrote earlier
about the *amazing* things
 that have come out 
of my husband's mouth
during my (our?) pregnancy,
I felt it would be a shame 
 not to immortalize 
the conversation that transpired
on our first visit to the labor ward
a few weeks back 
when I was getting all "Sybill"
with some nasty pre-eclampsia.



Tyler & Lauren sit in chairs
in the assessment room of the hospital's "labour ward"
where women first go
upon their arrival to the labor ward.

Doctors & midwives working in this room
determine if you can be treated there,
if you are in false labor,
or, if you are indeed in actual labor-
which then upgrades you into a private room 
where you will have your baby.

In fact,
I took this picture of part of it
while having my blood pressure checked yesterday:

The assessment room is a fairly large room
with lots of curtains creating small areas for evaluation...

and close proximity offering a pretty low level of privacy.

As we sit there and wait,
a woman tucked back somewhere amidst the abyss of curtains
is having some really, really strong contractions
and offering the rest of the room
a soundtrack to compliment the condition.

She's puffing, she's panting, she's even getting pretty moan-y.

{Basically, it sounds like she is in the process of having a baby.}

Tyler, who has been immersed in emails on his phone, suddenly looks up at me and whispers:

"Do you hear that lady?"

Which one? The contractions lady? Yeah. 

"I mean, she sounds terrible. It sounds like she's in a lot of pain."

Yeah, babe. 
This is a labor ward.

"But that's kind of an exaggeration, right?"

An exaggeration? What do you mean?

"I mean, it's not really that bad, right?"

I'm sorry?
Do you not understand the physics of this process?
Yes, it's that bad. It's terrible.

"Well, obviously...
but I didn't realize it hurt that bad.

I just thought it was basically like a tough work out...
you know, it doesn't feel great,
 but you power through.

But that... that sounds way worse."

Okay, is this a real conversation?
Are you serious right now?

Right before his eyes explode, 
he apologetically glances at my stomach
and whispers,
"What have I done to you?"


I still laugh when we bring this up...
I mean, honestly,
a work out?

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy via instagram. Username: aspiringkennedy

Splurge of the {Weak}

I'm cheap.

You probably know this about me by now.

It's one of those traits that I'm proud of
when I get something awesome at a low price,
but also hate when my friends roll my eyes
as I gawk about the price of something.

For example,
I love that I get to birth two children
here in the UK for absolutely nothing
through the NHS program.

It warms my heart in way that's hard to explain.

I can't help it.

My mother is cheap.
My husband is cheap.

The financial perimeters 
I've always worked in 
have been set tight.

Cheap people like myself
typically find our thrills
through sales and discounted merchandise
{Hello, Gilt Groupe & Luxury Link!}

But when I find full-price merchandise
that is amazing and at a good price...

...well, I kind of lose my mind.

So this week, I have two great finds for you.

They aren't discounted or on sale...
not that I have any problem with those two qualifiers.

These items are both full price...
and they are really awesome values.



Most homes need several cool mirrors splashed throughout it.

In our 800 sq ft flat,
we have five hanging up.

The only problem is-
most mirrors are really expensive...
or they are the same ones all your friends have 
from Z Gallerie or Target.

I love how unique this is
and that you could totally steal the attention 
of a hallway or powder room
for just $165.

When you sign up for their mailing list,
you get 10% off your first order, 
so the price is even better.


A dress for $33?

I don't even feel like you can get a dress
 at Target for that price these days.

To me, this dress feels like something 
Anna from Rifle Paper 
would whip up if she was on Project Runway.

Plus, 5% of your purchase goes to a charity of your choosing,
so that makes it even more awesome.


So happy shopping, friends.

I already have that cute dress coming my way
with plans to wear it over my post-baby body
at a certain friend's Greek Isle wedding this summer.

Now it's your turn to share in the online shopping shame.

Have a great weekend!

Pack Your Bags: Venice (Restaurants)

As I mentioned previously,
I love Venice
for a myriad of reasons...
but their local cuisine has never been one of them.

Perhaps it was our own fault,
but we have always struck out
when venturing out for food in the sinking city.

This past time,
on our babymoon,
we were determined to do better.

Luckily, we went with our friends Tyler & Amber
and they helped us source some really decent places to eat...

In fact, 
they were more than decent.

They were delicious.

If you head to any of these places,
you'll be in for a guaranteed treat.


Osteria Con Cucina

Calle Cavalli 4081
San Marco, 30124 Venezia
+39 041 522 8945

This place opened in 1936
and has apparently been awesome for a long time.

We went for "aperitivi,"
basically pre-dinner drinks & food...
which is one of the best kept secrets of Italy.

In Northern Italy
{specifically Venice!},
you can't go through early evening
without seeing slews of locals drinking
the pre-dinner drink, a "Spritz,"
which is a bright orange concoction consisting of
Aperol, white wine or prosecco, club soda & an orange slice.

In most local bars,
these cost about €2.50-4 
and are served with some delicious salty snacks
and nibbles like marinated artichokes and small sandwiches.

{Editor's Note: Don't worry, this pregnant lady passed on the booze
and concentrated her efforts on some calorie consumption outside of the liquid form.}

Enoteca Al Volto gets this time of day down perfectly.

The prices are ridiculously low,
the food & drink are fantastic,
and the ambiance is perfect.

Yes, the most expensive glass of wine is €5. Prosecco is €2 a glass.

Please, please go when you are in Venice...
and tell me how much you loved it.

{Because I'm fairly sure you will.... especially those artichokes. Yum!}


Calle Vallaresso, 1323
30124 Venezia (San Marco)
+39 041 528 5777

This place is a legend.

Literally, it's an actual historical landmark.

The three things you need to know about it:

1. It's the birthplace of the Bellini.

2. Hemingway hung out here.

3. It's super expensive
so be prepared to shell out some cash.

You won't be able to see from the frosted windows 
lining this tiny establishment,
but the interior is really low key.

{It almost reminds me of the interior of a boat?}

The staff is decked out in crisp white coats
and are ready to field any orders for Bellinis.

Look around,
it's what almost everyone else is drinking in there.

While the glass may initially seem small,
just consider what it would look like in a champagne flute
and you'll realized that actually-
it's about the right size.

A Classic Bellini is €16.50
If you opt for a pregnant-friendly version, it's €11.50

Yeah, it's a splurge
but you kinda have to do it 
when you're in Venice.

And hey, 
at least the Olives are free!

Amber & Tyler. Thanks for the Bellini, Amber!

Bottoms Up!

*No need for a reservation
if you're just stopping in for drinks.


Trattoria Pizzeria

Calle Stagneri 5251
San Marco, 30124 Venezia
+39 041 523 6583

There are many terrible places to eat in Venice.

Pretty much every place that has pictures on their menu
or plasters multiple translations of the menu to their windows
with flags indicating the language
should be completely avoided...

But in a town like Venice
that is so... "tourist friendly"
{read: tourist trap},
you can find yourself with few options
other than some really expensive options...
unless you go to Da Mamo.

This is a great pizzeria and trattoria.

Think delicious pasta and pizza...
and incredible dessert.

You have to try it to believe it,
but the strawberries & marscapone drizzled with balsamic
will change your life.

We didn't have reservations
and eventually got a table after a brief wait...
but it was also January and raining.

I think you'd be smart to have your hotel call ahead
and save a table for you to avoid getting stuck without one...
or book ahead through their website.


Calle Larga San Marco 404
San Marco, 30124 Venezia
+39 041 283 4939

Our concierge recommended this pizzeria to us
late upon our arrival to Venice.
Tired and happy to hear of a place nearby,
we went...
and remarked how there is also a ROSSOPOMODORO
near my offices in London.

Well, come to find out...
it's the same restaurant.

Okay, obviously not the same,
but it's part of a chain
originating out of Naples.

Tyler was slightly devastated,
but we both agreed
that had we not known there were others
we would really loved it.

{Does that make us hipsters or something?}

The food is great- especially the pizza,
 the prices are more than fair,
the decor is cool, the staff is great with Americans/tourists, 
& the location near St. Marks Square is a win.

Honestly, it was really tasty and I'd swallow my pride
and totally eat there again...
which is why I'm adding it on my list of recommendations.



Here are a few places recommended by fellow readers
that made their time in Venice special... and delicious.

Osteria La Zucca
Santa Croce 1762
30135 Venice (San Marco)

"... beautiful canal side setting and I highly recommend the pumpkin flan."
-Jeff & April

Calle dei Morti 2253
Santa Croce, 30135 Venice (San Marco)

"It's a hidden gem, but worth the search. I would ABSOLUTELY call ahead-
we have been to Venice three times and were only able to get in two of the times."
-Stephanie Lane

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Official Documentation- Bebes on Board!

Here's a confession:

I've always felt really uncomfortable
looking at people's maternity pictures.

Something about the belly showing
with ribbons wrapping around inverted belly-buttons
and fluffy layers of tuille draped over lady parts
always left me feeling... a little weird.

So when people asked who/what/when
I was going to do for ours maternity pics,
I kinda shrugged it off
as "not really my thing."

However, after going through
this amazing miracle of growing a human (or two) 
inside of my body,
I kinda softened up on the concept
and realized that, yes, it is a special time
and I will want to remember in the years to come.

Plus, the idea that the talented Liz Denfeld could distract
the awkwardness typically associated
with maternity pictures
with the gorgeous surroundings
of Notting Hill really helped.

{Warning: There are quite a few here, apologies.}

When I look at these pictures,
I can't help but smile.

I was released from the hospital 
the evening before
after a pre-eclampsia scare 
that left me with puffy eyes and swollen legs...
and as much as part of me cringes
looking at myself looking so... well, pregnant,
the other part of me is actually pretty proud
of all that my body is doing.

Having a face that looks like I've been crying
and two chubby legs
in exchange for being 8.5 months pregnant
with two healthy girls
growing well inside me?

It's an easy swap.

It's amazing that God made our bodies to pull this feat off...
and I'm thankful for Liz 
for snapping up this special time in our life.

*all images by Liz Denfeld. 
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