Pack Your Bags: Edinburgh's Elephant House

If you go to Edinburgh,
you're bound to visit
the main historical sites of the town...

The Edinburgh Castle.

Holyrood Palace.

John Knox's House.

The Royal Mile.

But these days,
most people visiting the city
also stop by a place of more recent
historical importance...

You know, where JK Rowling famously penned
the first of the Harry Potter stories on napkins 
while she would nurse a single cup of coffee all day
instead of sitting around in her flat
that she couldn't afford to heat.

It's a bit dorky to want to go there, 
but hey-
if you do want to go,
just know that you're in good company.

{I've been loads of times.}

Plus, it's so close to the historical sites
that you won't be putting yourself too far off track
 from the "respectable tourist site list."

The room is really pretty and has great lighting...
with a killer view of the castle.

It's the perfect place to come for a light lunch....

.... or to relax with a book
at tea time.

{Sidenote: they have such good desserts.}

So make sure you add a quick visit to 
to your trip to Edinburgh!

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Get Yourself a Hunskie to A-Thread Apparel.

My freshman year of college,
I mandated a silly rule for myself:
I wasn't allowed to wear pants to class.

So every day
for that first year of school,
I would wear a skirt or dress to class.

I'm not sure why I decided to do this
bit I have three plausible theories:

1. I wore a uniform skirt for my entire life before college
and had become accustomed to sitting in a classroom setting
with goosebumps all over my legs.

2.  I wanted to rebel against all my friends
who wore pajama pants to class every day.

{Thank goodness that yoga pants replaced that as "slouch wear," right?}

3. I'm slightly prissy {read: ridiculous}.

It's probably a combination of all of three of those.

Anyway, all of that shallow psychoanalysis to say
that I really do like wearing dresses.

They make me feel like a lady...
and I think I look better in them than I do in pants.

{As I type that, I realize that was probably the ENTIRE reason I decided to not wear pants that year.}

But seriously,
what girl doesn't look great in a dress?

That's why I'm SO happy that one of you
is going to get the gift of looking great
{while showing off your sexy legs}
after you win $100 from A-Thread.

Because, people, they have some really cute stuff...
and more than just dresses, 
if they arent' your thing.

Remember that dress I blogged about earlier
and then wore on Easter Sunday?

Yep. It was A-Thread...
it was also only $33, 
so it was a flipping good deal.

And to make it an even better deal,
you can use ASPIRINGKENNEDY15 at checkout
to save 15% off any purchases.... holler.

Enter below for your chance to win $100 from A-Thread

Winner will be selected June 3, 2013.
Entering will get you on a-thread's email list for updates & deals!

Pack Your Bags: Edinburgh, Scotland

I know I've posted about Edinburgh
several times in the past.

At least, this time & this time
that I can remember.

But since I have get to go up there
so often for work,
I find new things each time
I'm there that I think you might want to know about.

I got to see the usual haunts
like the Royal Mile....

John Knox's House....

& the funny street performers
that may or may not have the same name as my daughter....

...but I wanted to jot down a few new places
that might make your trip to Edinburgh better.

This place is located really close the train station 
{right across from the Balmoral, if that helps give you context?},
has affordable room rates,
and has a staff that is super friendly...
especially in the case that your reservation is accidently cancelled.

Not that I would know anything about that though.

This restaurant is located in the heart of New Town.

It's got delicious food
{I'll go ahead and recommend the leek & parmesan risotto and the sticky toffee pudding},
great decor that will make you feel like you're fancy,
affordable prices that won't make you feel like you're broke,
and a staff that is super friendly...
especially in the case that your baby poops through her outfit

Not that I would know anything about that though. 

I've always seen the gorgeous stone monuments sitting on the far edge of new town
but have never really know what they were
and how you would get up to see them...
or if you even could?

Well, this time, after leaving an indulgent afternoon
we found the path up there
and it was so easy to do. 

{About a 5 minute climb up while holding a baby. Easy peasy.}

not so sure about that bright sun....

The gorgeous view of the city makes this a must-do...
plus, it's proximity to New Town
makes it too easy not to do on a pretty day.

MIU MIU Glitter Slippers

I also got to break in the new shoes
that I found on clearance at Off 5th
while I was in the States.

I couldn't find them online for you,
but I did find some similar ones that are pretty darn cute & sparkly, too.

{You know, just in case you have an inner-Dorothy complex that needs to be satisfied, too.}

* * *

Any new places in Edinburgh that you love
that I should try on my next visit?

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

The British Are Coming! #pinitforwardUK

My friend, Beth, forced me into blogging
all those many years ago.

She also forced me to join this new website called Pinterest
that all the other bloggers were doing.

So I did it,
because when Beth tells you to do something,
you do it.

I thought it was the coolest thing.

And soon after, most of my American friends
started to join in the fun
and it seemed like the world of Pinterest exploded.

Dreamy pictures of Parisian cafes,
Paleo recipes & fashion week styles
began trending through our lives
and began offering us more visual stimulation
than a 12 year old gets watching 
the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders at halftime.

My boards- I kind of love them.

And for the past few years,
there have been different waves of discovery
for this amazing site...

...except here in the UK.

It's not really as big of a deal.

But it will be.

{Kinda feels good to be sending trends the other way over the Atlantic, doesn't it?}

This month, 
Pinterest is officially here in the UK.

Helena, Amber, Evan (Pinterest founder!) & Me

Kicking off with a FUN party in London
and now the PIN IT FORWARD UK blog campaign,
they are officially here to stay!

Pin It Forward UK 2013

So what is Pinterest?
What does it mean to me?

It's a great way for bloggers
to pin ideas that inspire us for future posts...

it gives us a place to pin gadgets & travel gear
for our upcoming journeys...

it offers us working women a place to find
a delicious meal to make for dinner...

and, ultimately, it gives everyone stuck in a boring job
something fun to do every day from 2-4pm.

Are you already on Pinterest?

If not, it's time...

And if you need to learn more about it-
maybe check out the ABOUT page,
where you'll see... you know, me.

{PS. I feel SO cool to be featured here.}

Jump on the fun of meeting some great UK bloggers
by following the Pin It Forward UK campaign.

Tomorrow, my dear friend, Amber,
will be carrying the baton...
don't miss it!

Do you remember when you first "met" Pinterest?

Pillow Giveaway? Happy Monday.

Unless you are in one of the royal residences,
living in London
forces you to become
selective on what items
enter your home.

I'd like to attribute my selective purchasing skills
to a cool, minimalist mentality...
but the truth is,
we just don't have the space!

With the absence of garages, attics, spare bedrooms, & closets,
comes the necessity to keep your life simplified.

Buying in bulk
is a concept I used to relish...
but now, we stock things 
in small quantities 
and on a need-to-have basis.

Otherwise, our tiny cabinets would pop open
and we would be swimming in random objects.

I've become relatively good at this.
except for one area:


I love pillows,
I can't stop adding them to our home,
& I can't throw any old ones away.

It's getting slightly awkward.

So luckily,
when a blog reader, Brittany,
showed me her new pillow line, BELQUIST,
my heart fluttered a bit.

With names like "Cyprus, "Lucerne," & "Bombay,"
it's clear to see how Brittany's travels have influenced 
her work designing the pillows.

She has done a fantastic job of creating 
a well-edited collection that goes well together...
and, in my opinion,
 would look great in most any room of my house.

Which is good
as I have two Belquist pillows 
that now need to find a space there.

And now one of you can share in my dilemma, too.

Enter below for your chance to score one.

As its open to US readers only,
I have no doubt the winner 
will have plenty of square footage
to give this prize ample room.

{Lucky you.}

{Editor's Note: I love when readers get to win prizes on here. Makes me happy.}

*I was given pillows as a product review for this giveaway. 
Just so you know. I really do like them, too!

GiGi New York: Tote-ally Awesome.

Traveling a lot
offers you the ability to learn
how to travel smart.

You learn what things you can do without
and what things you absolutely can't live without.

Pretty much anything that weighs more than 
my makeup bag or a paperback book
isn't making the cut...
my shoulders are so worn down from years of schlepping
my laptop, notepad, camera, water bottles,
piles of books I wanted to read (but never did)
around as we traveled.

But I'm older & wiser now....
and I have a kid
that requires lots of other transported junk gear.

So how do you travel smart
when you need all the essentials,
need it to double as a diaper bag,
but want to look like a normal/non-mom person?

Well, I have no idea...
but I think this cute tote bag
by GiGi New York
gets me pretty close to it.

I like the idea of using a bag
that is cool enough to me to wear pre-baby 
... after you become post-baby.

Obviously, I realllly like that idea. Reason 1051 I'm not a fashion blogger. God bless those special people.

Plus, you can put your own initials
on the cute bag tag...
or have them stamped directly on the bag.

{Like my cross-body from last summer had, remember?}

Your choice.

Traveling is hectic enough...
so why complicate it with extra pieces
when you could just carry everything in one, pretty, chic bag?

Especially when you've already got your hands full.

 GiGi New York Teddy Tote in Taupe, $295.

Sounds like it's time for you to get packing, too.

Check out the entire line here.


PS. This bag comes in so many colors!!! One for everyone. ;)

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy
**tote bag c/o GiGi New York.

Happy/Sad Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is this weekend. 

I can't believe how much has changed in a year.

This time last year, 

we were just two kids 

having fun living between Paris & London.

And then, I got pregnant.

{This was the video I took to record the moment- live from the bathroom of a Chinese massage parlor- ha!}

We began to dream of new our life with the three of us.

Until we found out it would actually be the four of us.

Our hearts swelled with anticipation

of the two sweet girls headed our way.

We felt like we had won the lottery.

For those nine months, we both glowed.

Dreams of walking the streets of London

each holding a little girl

amused our every thought.

We'd see little girls plodding along the sidewalk

and give each other side glances and smiles.

Life was never so sweet.

And then everything changed.

Tyler became a father.

I became a mother.

But life looked different than we thought it would.

Our world has changed from so much.

Even thought we feel so much joy,
we aren't those careless kids anymore.

In the course of a year,

we've gone from having zero kids 

to two girls 
to one.

Even though it hurt

-both emotionally & physically, I might add-

I'd do it all again.

In a heartbeat.

It was worth it all

to become a mother to both of my beautiful girls

even if it was for so much shorter than we wanted.

And while our dreams 
of holding both of our sweet daughters
throughout life's adventures are now gone,

I'm so thankful for those months I was lucky enough to carry them both.

Happy Mother's Day 
to all of us...

Those of us who raise babies.

Those of us who once raised babies.

Those of us who still wait for their turn to hold their baby.

And those of us who will always miss our babies.


Lots of love from my {aching/joyful} heart to yours.

*PS Me & Blogger are in a fight over this wonky formatting. 

I Pledge Allegiance...

My favorite things about coming back to the US
are, in no particular order:


Unfortunately, these don't really exist in London.

I mean, there are donuts...
but they aren't the good kind.

They are the yucky, old, in a plastic box from the grocery store kind.

It's extremely upsetting.

Every Saturday morning,
I roll over to Tyler 
and tell him that the only thing missing in our life
is a donut shop that we could go to for breakfast.

By the way,
I had 3 donuts this morning....
and 5 donut holes.

Disgusting, right?
But also great.


I know there are getting to be some good places in London
that now serve a decent burger
{Meatliquor and Patty&Bun, I hear ya),
but they don't do it without a huge line
and this cheap.

And none of them have
ranch, American cheese, bacon, avocado & grilled onions...
and for that, it is all the lesser.

Friends & Family

Well, I have some pretty awesome friends in London,
but I still miss these sweet faces while I'm gone.

Oh, and do you know what is really fun?

Getting to introduce your baby to her cousins...

and aunts...

and great-grandparents....

Viola Wallace and her namesake, Jeanne Wallace Knight.

and so many other people that you love dearly.

It's been such a treat.

We are having a great time in the States.

Texas & Oklahoma down,
Charlotte & Arkansas up next!


While I'm elbow deep in donut-holes & chimichangas
during our trip around the States,
I'll be doing a few good giveaways here on the blog.

Don't worry- they're all awesome.

You wont be mad about them. ;)

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