Pack Your Bags: Burano, Italy



While it may be a place

that can completely be "seen" in a day or two,
Venice is an absolute must 
for planning a trip to Italy.

Maybe you don't have to go your first trip...
but promise me, 
at some point in your life,
you'll make it here.

It's like nothing you've ever seen.

After visiting Venice a handful of times,
I was pretty confident that I had seen all there was to see.

Until my sister pointed me in the direction 
of the island of Burano
during a trip there in 2007.

Now Murano is the really famous island 
where all the gorgeous glass is made,
but Burano is the other island,
that's located a bit further out,
where the (somewhat less famous) Venetian lace has it's home.





While it was fairly unknown a handful of years ago,
it has grown increasingly popular
over the past five to ten years.

Each time we go,
the boat has more and more people on it
and the island's main canal 
has more people walking down 
taking in the gorgeous colors of the island.

Even with it becoming "discovered,"
it's still absolutely worth seeing for yourself.





So why spend your time in Venice 
heading out to Burano?

Well for starters,
it's gorgeous.

Each house is painted a different color
that creates an effect that is incredibly charming.




It's also tiny 
so it's a perfect way 
to fill an afternoon 
with walking, picture taking & eating.

{Which are the best parts of traveling, right?}

If it's sunny, you can find warm nooks by the water
and take a little snooze in the sunshine.

Cassie from Hi Sugarplum! asked if I had ever eaten 
at a restaurant that she had seen featured on Anthony Bourdain
located on the (tiny) main canal
with a green & white striped awning.

Umm, nope.
But I was determined not to miss it this time.

We only found one restaurant with a green & white awning.


We walked in to find a really basic restaurant
that was stuffed with Italians.

{This my friends, is a good sign in a tourist destination.}

It was lasagna day
and Tyler made the genius choice
to order the plate of the day.





I only got one tiny corner bite,
but it was incredible...
 Completely worth a Ryan Air flight back 
just for plate of my own.

{My soup was pretty tasty, too... but the lasagna won.}



I still have no idea what the name of the restaurant is
but you should be able to find it
if you're on the main drag...

UPDATE: Apparently, it wasn't the same place from the show...
that place is called "Da Romano."

So now you have two recommendations for dining in Burano.

One from me, one from Anthony Bourdain. 
You can pick his over mine, it won't hurt my feelings.

_________________

From there,
enjoy the quiet stroll around the island
and the opportunity to take pictures
and simply enjoy la dolce vita.





Here are few things to know
for your trip to Burano:


Take the Vaparetto #12
from Fondamente Nove...
located on the northern part of Venice,
about a 15 minute walk from the big touristy areas.

This is the quickest boat (about 45 minutes)
and will stop at both Murano & Burano.

If you aren't planning on traveling by boat
anywhere else that day,
you can buy single tickets (€7 each way)
and save some money from purchasing thh 24 hour pass.

The boats run approxiamately every 30 minutes
at 20 minutes & 50 minutes past the hour.



*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy


A Royal Baby Shower


While I may have anticipated pregnancy including
 blowing out of my clothes,
flares of emotional absurdity,
and a slew of other unwelcome aspects,
one thing beautiful about pregnancy I never anticipated
was the outpouring of LOVE that I would experience.

 I have been blown away
by the amount of love and support 
that has been gifted to us during this time.

Not only does it remind me 
of how lucky we are to have such great people in our life,
but it's also been a good reminder
of how important it is
to gift that sort of love and attention to others...

{Because being treated like a princess feels amazing.}

While in the States in December,
I was spoiled absolutely rotten 
with beautiful showers 
in Dallas & Oklahoma City....

So when my friends in London
hosted a THIRD shower for me this weekend,
it almost felt like too much.

Almost. :)



The afternoon was intimate,
attended by a handful of girls I adore,
and prettier than a Pinterest dream...

It was a "Royal Baby Shower"
completely decked out in gold & glitter
for our two princesses. 

{Kate Middleton only wishes 
her sister threw parties this adorable.}

Homemade Tahitian Vanilla & Coconut Cake? I ate an enormously huge wedge of this. Recipe here. 


Sparkly sugar cookies that tasted like a dream and flaky palmiers.

________________


Thank you Amber & Helena 
for hosting this gorgeous day for
me and my little girls...
I can't believe all the work and love 
you both put into making this day so special.

***

Thanks to all my blogging friends
who sent in your secret videos for the day.

Oh my goodness...
it was fantastic to see all of your sweet faces
make a surprise appearance at the shower.

***

And a special shout out to Liz  for flying in from Amsterdam
for the weekend to celebrate & take maternity pics for us...
what an amazing gift!






*images original to A Diary of Lovely.


The {Baby}moon's Over.






We came.
We saw.
We conquered.

Our babymoon in Venice
was a trip that I have no doubt
the two of us will remember for many years to come.

It truly was a babymoon for the record books.





I took extra care to seek out some good spots
while on this trip
that I can't wait to share with you later this week...




But do you know what else I did?

 I  really enjoyed the weekend for what it was....

completely baby free. :)

________________


This trip marks the end of an era for the two of us....

we have gone so many places, 
seen countless amazing things,
eaten our fair share of delicious things...
and taken entirely too many kissing pictures.

But times, they are a changing.

{Quickly, too, from the rate my stomach is expanding.}



I can't wait to see what new traditions & quirks
these two additions bring to our lives & travels...


.... but I'll always be thankful 
to have shared this time 
with such a sweet {&, methinks, attractive} man.





{And I'm so thankful for each of YOU for sharing in our travels & life changes.}

Grazie mille.






*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

Their Daddy's Mouth


Alright.

I'm doing it.

I'm blogging about being pregnant.

Well actually,
I'm going to talk about 
Tyler and my pregnancy.

While each child and pregnancy is special,
there has to be something extra lovely
about a man & woman
going through this process together 
for the first time...

...because as much as I want to remember the feeling of my babies kicking,
the way I felt when I first found out I was pregnant
or the way they bounce around on the sonogram screen,
there is no way in heck I want to forget these gems
that have come out of my husband's mouth.


What I saw when I walked out to the car after we found out we were having twins.




When I showed him my pregnancy test,
I said "Look! Two lines!"

To which he replied...
"Woah. What does that mean??"

To which I laughed:
"Just that I'm pregnant... 
not that there are two babies."

{That joke was on me.}

_________________


While waiting at the Doctor's office:

Lauren: Hey babe, look.
Remind me to tell our midwife that we want a home birth.

{Sarcastically points to flyer on wall about elective home births.}

Tyler: What? We can't do a home birth...

Lauren: Well, duh. I know...
but why do you say that?

Tyler: Because our bath tub isn't big enough 
for both of us and the nurse to fit in it at the same time.

Lauren: What?
 Oh babe, no.
No, that's not what happens.
It's not always in the bath tub.

Tyler: Huh? Where is it?

Lauren: It's like, on the bed, babe.

Tyler: You do what?

{Gags.}

Do they make trashbags that big?

_______________


You know babe, 
now that your stomach is so big
it makes your butt look smaller.

________________


While looking through racks of baby clothes,
I held up two outfits 
and suggested them for their coming home outfits.

Tyler looked at me like I was an alien
and asked why we needed to buy outfits 
to bring them home from the hospital.

I replied that we would have to bring them home in something.

To which he just rolled his eyes and said: 

Why can't we just wrap them up in blankets over their diapers?

______________


So there we have it.

Straight from the mouth of man 
who has given me two offspring...

and I can only hope they are just like him.


Venice of the Past



One thing that makes Venice

so incredibly endearing
is the old world charm
that sleepily drifts between 
each of it's lonely canals.

While it's hard to wander through this city,
see flooded homes that are now quietly locked up
and wonder about the people and days
that used to occupy this now quiet city.

I can't speak for the ornate years
of Venetian splendor,
but I do know that two years ago
we sure did have an awesome time there
while celebrating our anniversary.

While we are back in Venice today
 drifting around from canal to canal today,
here's a look back to our 4th anniversary...
when I made my first video for a trip
and still didn't really understand 
how to erase the background noise.

{We've all got to start somewhere, right?}




Have a great weekend!



*video original to Aspiring Kennedy


Ciao Venezia!


Buon giorno!

Today, we are off to Venice
for one last adventure
for just the two of us.

While we both hope 
that babies won't mean 
an end to our adventures,
we definitely won't be
sleeping in late
and staying out at long dinners
for a while...

but that's okay, 
because that will be an adventure, too...

Erm... right?




There's snow on the forecast today
here in London,
so keep your fingers crossed
that the runways are clear
and planes are moving
so that this mamma mia
can get to Italy!

We'll be with our good friends,
Tyler & Amber
wandering around Burano,
exploring lonely canals,
and eating an obscene amount of carbs & dairy.

{YOLO.}

We've been to Venice a handful of times
and I hav to say...
there's not a single restaurant
that I can remember being amazing there.

Okay, other than Harry's Bar 
and while we are living it up this weekend...
we aren't living it up to that extent!

Anyone have a place that you particularly 
love to eat in Venice?

And don't forget,
you're welcome to join our trip 
{via Instagram...}
username: aspiringkennedy

____________


PS. I just realized this will be the girls
third time to Italy already
after my trips to Rome & Tuscany this summer...
and they aren't even born!

If they keep up moves like this,
they are going to make me look bad. ;)


*image via


In The Moment.


I had one of those moments tonight
where the gravity of how good things are
falls on your heart
and life just seems so precious.

I was sitting in a bubble bath
{pretty much my favorite time of day}
and suddenly got worked up.

Maybe it's the increase in hormones
or the big changes closing in on us...
but having this man beside me,
these crazy babies inside me
and family & friends that lavish us with support
makes me feel like a really lucky lady.

photo by Victoria Wall Harris

I know, I know
we aren't guaranteed what tomorrow will look like,
it could really suck.

But I don't like to live  
preparing for the worst-case scenario...
because it robs today of all it's goodness.

For this small window of time
...in this tiny flat 
that is gets increasingly crowded
with baby stuff, Tyler & I both working from home
and my ever-expanding stomach,
life is sweet.


Getting loved on by my friends at my Dallas baby shower.

Ok, now it's your turn to get all Pollyanna 
and look at this phase of your life 
through some rose colored glasses.

How will you look back 
on what is great 
about this stage of your life?

Go.

_________________________


PS. Congratulations, Heather Moore
Number #65 was the lucky winner for the giveaway
from Sunglasses Shop... and that was you!



Working Overseas: 5 Things to Know





Some of you have asked in the past
what one would need to do 
to move overseas.

I'm by no means an expert...
but as someone who has managed to move here,
I guess I have a bit of an advantage.

I've offered the little I know
 a couple of times to you in the past
-probably best on my vlog-
but with new readers
and new tides of college graduates
wanting to move somewhere exciting
comes an influx of these questions.

If you've written to me
and I haven't replied 
over the past few weeks,
I was stock-piling over the holidays
in efforts to address you in an official post.

Please forgive my tardiness
and let these five things
help kick-start your brain 
into crafting what you need to do to move
 somewhere fabulous and exotic.


___________________




1. If you want to move to a new country,
you must immigrate there legally... with a visa!


If I were to guess, I'd say about 90% of people don't realize this fact.

Maybe it's because most of us are Americans 
who can move freely from state to state
without any problem.

If we want to pack up and move to New York City,
by gosh- we can.

So it doesn't occur to us that moving to London or Paris would be any different.

I don't think I fully realized this until I had to do it myself,
so I can't blame you.

Some how in movies and books,
they skip all the red tape, biometrics & applications.

But you'll need to officially immigrate
so that you do the big stuff like be hired for a job,
open a bank account, rent an apartment and have health care.






2. They don't make it easy for you to move here.


Completing the paperwork for a visa
is the modern man's form 
of survival of the fittest.

The forms are terribly long
and you can expect as much feedback
as talking to a brick wall.

Take all the paperwork you fill out seriously.

Filling in the wrong answer
could black ball your application 
from getting processed then...
and perhaps upon future submissions.

Oh, and it's expensive...
we have to get visas for our little ladies
that will last for approximately 11 months.

It's going to cost us £1200
and then we will have to re-apply for our third visa
the following spring.



3. Consider higher education.

For any 20-something that writes me,
my best advice for moving overseas
is to come over on a student visa.

They are the most obtainable,
the easiest to process,
& the most common way
I know that other expats have moved into a country.

Many countries will offer some sort of 
"post study visa" 
that will allow you to reside in the country
for a couple of years to follow.

It's a great way to immigrate in to the country,
make a network of friends through your program,
and get your foot in the door...

Oh, and you get a degree out of it, too.

Score.

{Megan answered some great/common questions about studying in the UK here.}





4. "But can't I just apply for a job in Europe and get a visa that way?"


When I was finishing my last semester of college, 
I remember scrolling through the French L'Oreal website
looking for potential jobs.

What my optimistic 21 year-old self didn't realize
was that I wasn't eligible to work any of these jobs...
because I didn't have a work permit.

In the UK, a job has to posted for a minimum of 90 days
before it can be submitted for a non-citizen to apply for it.

Assuming that it gets to that point,
they would then have to make a case
supporting why YOU are the only person that can fill this job
and why NO OTHER CITIZEN could also do it.

You have to be pretty specialized to work this angle.

I'm not sure how it exactly works in other EU countries,
but I know it's similar to this...
and it makes sense, I suppose.

Why give your local jobs out to other people
and let your own unemployment rates go up?

Especially since so many of these countries
are offering healthcare to their citizens.

They need them to be paying back in with income taxes 
to keep everything supported...
which is why they aren't making it easy for us adorable Americans
to fill out an application that could take away their jobs.

See what I mean? 

It kind of has to be this way.

One caveat to this is being transferred in from a large company
that has offices in both countries.

Large accounting firms, law firms & other businesses
can transfer existing employees to offices in other countries.

These are typically companies that are large enough
to support the moving costs & visas that come with immigrating.

Most of these companies offer 2-3 year moves.

It's an awesome deal 
and I'm always jealous of our friends that move this way...
they get taken care very well.



5. It's not impossible.

All of this gloom and doom talk is discouraging, I know,
but hey, look-
I'm an American and I live in London!

Obviously, there are plenty of us here, 
so it's not like the door is completely closed
to getting to move to a different country.

It's just important to know what you are up against
before you start making grand plans to move overseas...
because unless you plan accordingly,
you're only allowed to stay for 90 days on a tourist visa.

And while any 90 day vacation would be pretty sweet,
you're looking for a life overseas,
so it's important you start down the right path.




_____________


Every person's immigration story is different,
so there isn't a set formula for how to get over here.

The best I can offer is murky, muddled advice that I've gathered
over our time in England 
from our experiences
and the experiences of our friends.

While I may not be able to offer much more advice than that,
I can offer you my encouragement:
it's completely worth the struggle!





*This is written for Americans. All of you Commonwealth countries are much luckier 
when moving about amongst yourself... and for that, we remain extremely jealous.

*images borrowed from here.

Pack Your Bags: Irish Day Trips


First, I need to apologize
for making some people
very sad when I posted about Dublin.

I said I didn't really love the city
and that I had hard time connecting to it.

So, I'm sorry.

{I actually am, as I get really sad when people don't connect with a place I love.}

Though it was awesome having you pour out in the comments
what things & places made the city great to you
and I can't wait to try out some of your suggestions the next time I'm there.

So while Dublin still isn't my favorite place in the world,
I can't say one bad word about Ireland as a whole.

Getting out of the city
and into the quieter places of the country
is something I hope everyone gets to do at some point in their life.

{And I'm itching to get to Northern Ireland... luckily I have a hot wedding to go to there this June.}

If you are wanting to get out Dodge
{or Dublin, whatever},
I would recommend these two day trips.

*****

Glendalough
& Wicklow National Park

If you can get out of Dublin,
it's worth the hour-ish drive out to to Glendalough 
home of good old St. Kevin
and his (once) famous monastic community.

The ruins of this long-lasting community
are in impressive shape,
considering how long they have been around.




There is a small museum at the Welcome Center
that will brief you on the history of the site
and then you can head out to see the ruins in person.

{I always like getting some context before heading out to a site. Who doesn't though?}

After you've looked at all the old rocks, ruins & graves your heart can handle,
head out to the lakes for the real treat.

There are two lakes...
the first is about 5-10 minutes away
and it's really pretty.

But keep going on the path
until you reach the second lake
{about 20-30 minutes from the ruin site}
so you can see this.



You won't be sad you did.

If you're in need of a great place to eat,
right up the road from Glendalough
is the charming Wicklow Heather.

Not only is the food delicious,
but the restaurant is a literary-nerd's heaven
showcasing first-edition works by famous authors
such as James Joyce & Yeats in their Writer's Room.


{Editor's Note: Remember in PS I Love You when Hilary Swank mets Gerard Butler
on the road in the Wicklow National Park... 
yes, these are those Wicklow Mountains.}

***



The Cliffs of Moher

I've been to Ireland
several times before making it out to this famous coastline.

I'd call it a "Rookie Mistake,"
but obviously, seeing as how many times I've gone 
 that wouldn't really apply.




{or "The Cliffs of Insanity"as you Princess Bride fans may know them}
are on the Western Coast of Ireland.

It takes several hours to get out there
and making it out there will take up a day of time.

But is it worth it?

Oh yeah, baby.

Because after you get there, 
you can have this view.

{24 week pregnant lady not included.}




There is a small cafe & a restaurant at the newly refinished visitor's center
that you can find warmth in 
once those coastal breezes get the better of you.

Rangers can lead informational walks, 
but from my personal experience,
 it's not anything to cry over
if you miss out on making the tour.

Apparently, there's not much to say about these cliffs 
other than that they are really old 
and that puffins come to nest there in the summer.




To reach the famous cliffs,
you have two options:
you can take a tour with a group like McCoole Day Tours

If you drive yourself, will you promise to stop in the town of Ennis for lunch?

It's a tiny little Irish village
complete with an adorable town square
and it will make your day trip all the better.

You have the Aspiring Kennedy's word on it.

For what it's worth,
I've also heard Galway is more than worth visiting
when you're out that way.

__________


PS. There's an awesome giveaway happening right now
for a sweet pair of shades from The Sunglasses Shop. 
Don't miss out on the chance to snag a pair!



Sunglasses Shop- GIVEAWAY!


I love getting readers cool stuff
just for reading my blog.

I feel like it's some sort of party favor
that I can offer
for your time spent here.

So when Sunglasses Shop
offered me the chance to give one of you
a pair of sunglasses from Kate Moss's collection for Vogue
{you know, the one that Mario Testino shot the ads for}...
I got pretty excited.







All of the collection is very Palm Springs inspired...
and, if you're like me, 
it will leave you dreaming of being perched
in a sunny lounger by a pool
while men in white uniforms bring you colorful drinks
with giant kebabs of fruit anchored to the edges.


image

Entering is easy.

Here's what you can do
for your chance to win
a pair of your very own sunglasses
from Kate Moss's line for Vogue Eyewear.



REQUIRED:

Visit this link to Vogue sunglasses to pick which style & pair you would like to win.
{Yes, you can pick whichever pair of the Vogue line you want!}

AND

"Like" Sunglasses Shop on Facebook, telling them you came from Aspiring Kennedy.

Leave me a comment below telling me which pair you would choose
 and that you've "liked" the page.

______________


That's all you need to do
and we will select a winner at random January 15, 2012.

Open to all followers of Aspiring Kennedy
who are residents of the UK & US. No cash value.
One winner will be selected via random.org.



*images by Mario Testino

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