What? When? How Long? Time Budgeting for Europe

One of the questions that lands in my inbox
on an almost daily basis 
revolves around how many days
people should spend
in each city
when they are traveling to Europe.

It's not an exact science,
but here's a general breakdown
to help out when trying 
to plot out your trip.

rome city map, $20.

(allowing for 3 day trips out of the city)


(allowing for 1 day at Versailles)

(allowing for 1 day in Tuscany on a day trip)

stockholm city map, $20

(allowing for 1 day out in Wicklow National Park or Cliffs of Moher)





london city map, $20

(allowing for 1 day out at Neuschwanstein or Dachau)

(allowing for 1 day spent out at Murano + Burano)

(allowing for seeing the beaches + Mont St Michel)

amsterdam city map, $20




oxford city map, $20


Book your flights in & out of different cities so that you don't loose a day in traveling back to your arrival city. No bigger bummer than cutting your Spanish adventure short so that you can RyanAir back to a city you just left. The travel cost back to that city and the time you save will be more than worth it.

If you are planning on traveling from city to city by flight, splurge a bit more on the Airline to one that allows for baggage. Otherwise, you'll have to limit your luggage to a carryon the size of a small backpack. Airlines like British Airways or Alitalia can fly between countries for under $100, so while they are more expensive than the budget airlines- you'll save enough to compensate for their crazy costs of checking a bag with the other guys.

Stop throwing away your full water bottle at security because you haven't had time to drink it yet. Just dump it out in the trash can and refill it on the other side of security.

Read my tutorial for flying budget airlines here. (It's a whole new world.)

*     *     *

Any thoughts to add?
Toss them in the hat below
and add in from your experience!

*images via cartocreative

PARIS: Family Style

I can't believe our time in Paris
is going by so quickly.

We only have about a month left.

I'd like to say it's flown by,
because it feels like just yesterday
we were in Hawaii...

but the truth is,
we have done so much!

We've loved getting to know our little neighborhood
here in the Marais...

We've had such a great time exploring the city with my students...

and finding our own special spots
when it's just us out running errands alone.

We've had friends come and go
to make the weekends a bit sweeter...

It's been so wonderful!

We aren't finished yet...
but it's weird when you realize
you are over the halfway point
of something.

But that's where we are at now...
and so it's time to savour every thing bit longer
and be a bit more intentional with how we spend our days...

I'm so glad to take these sweet photos back with us
to help us remember this fun time of life.

Thanks, Noah, for capturing our springtime in Paris.

It's so us.

Not perfectly groomed or dressed,
but just here...
wandering around a city that we love
and enjoying the day for what it is.

Anyway, here are a few of them
to show you a quick glimpse
of our little "la vie quotidienne."

*photography by Noah Darnell


The title of this post
is a result of a baby crawling across my computer...

I decided to leave it as is,
in efforts of maintaining this post's theme.

*     *     *

Regardless of how easy Instagram and blogging 
may make it look
to travel, work and be a mom...

it's not always picture perfect.

It wouldn't even be possible
if Tyler wasn't working on a start-up
that gave him the flexibility to move his hours around
and work from home when needed.

In fact, can I pause for a moment to applaud the dad he is?

He takes care of Viola nearly every day before lunch
and is, 99%, the wind beneath my proverbial wings
when I have to scoot out to a museum tour or day trip
by hanging back with Viola when I need to be "on."

So, no, it's not easy.

It's take endless chatter trying to align our days
and figure out who needs to be where at what time...

and, at times, it results in one (or both) of us
jockeying for who's "turn" it is to do something...

and, at other time, it makes us want to chunk our day planners
at the other's head in frustration....

... and while we gain a lot from this life,
we also give up a lot to have it.

We don't have a lot of free time
to stay in touch with our friends & family
like we might wish.

We don't have a lot of disposable income.

We have a hard time thinking further out
than about 5 or 6 months ahead.

but do I feel lucky to get to spend my days
with the two people I love most
doing jobs that we love
and working with people we respect?

Oh, heck yeah.

It's not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination,
but I'm so thankful for this time that we have.

*photography by Noah Darnell for Aspiring Kennedy

My Paris: L'Eclair De Genie

It was a long time coming
before I could make it 
to the famous L'Eclair de Genie...

Well, in retrospect to my entire life, I suppose.

Once we got to Paris,
we were there within 72 hours.

Since then, 
we've been back, well....
more times than I'd like to admit.

I love these pretty little things...
and dream in the Vanille et Noix de Pecan.

It's, by far, the best eclair I've ever tasted.

And, hey, when you're in France,
that's exactly what you want to have.

Flavors rotate out seasonally,
but there are typically some classics that stick.

Don't go for a cheap treat,
as they are around €5 a piece for a gorgeous-yet-small eclair.

Go for a taste of something truly special
or a treat for someone that you really fancy.

It also makes a great dessert
after a falafel from it's lovely neighbor,
L'As du Falafel.

*   *   *

For more of my Paris recommendations, check here.

*photography by Noah Darnell

The Lovely Drawer: Gingerbread Blondies

I love brownies like every other person,
but a blondie has certain mystical appeal to me.

I'm not sure why, 
but if I have the choice-
I almost always will defect from the chocolatey hero
and cling starry-eyed to it's paler counterpart.

You can imagine my wonderment 
when Teri whipped up these 
gingerbread blondies
in her kitchen
for this month's recipe.

Gingerbread yumminess
combined with a blondie
drizzled with white chocolate?

My mind was as blown 
as the first time I encountered
which my sister hilariously refers to as
"the Tur-Duck-En of desserts."

It's just one of those creations
you encounter that has 
so much goodness 
wrapped up in one tiny thing.

It's like, as the Brits say,
all my Christmases have come at once.

Here's Teri to walk you through
this lovely creation.

(Don't forget to read it to yourself
in a sweet English accent... it makes it so much better.)

*    *    *

These yummies may look like brownies but they are in fact gingerbread blondies and each gooey bite is worth every calorie. These are really straightforward to whip up and make a nice change to a standard brownie. They work well as a dessert with some vanilla ice cream or as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea or coffee, yum!

225g dark brown soft sugar
150g butter
4 tbsp black treacle
2 tsp ground ginger
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g plain flour
125g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
100g gingernut biscuits
150g white chocolate


1. Preheat the oven to 180 and line or grease a 20x 20 baking tin.

2. Mash the dark brown soft sugar, butter and treacle together in a bowl with a spoon until the mixture is totally combined. Mix in the ginger, eggs and vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the plain flour, wholemeal flour, baking flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Add the flour gradually, incorporating between each addition.

4. Break the gingernut biscuits and 100g of the white chocolate into small chunks and stir into the blondie mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Leave to cool. 

6. Melt the remaining white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a simmering saucepan of water, stirring constantly.

7. Pour the chocolate into a bottle with a small nozzle or wrap a sheet of greaseproof paper into a cone shape and snip the end off to drizzle the white chocolate over the blondies. Leave the chocolate to set a little and then cut into squares.

*    *    *


Teri is off to Brussels for a week,
and I'm hoping the sticky and sugar waffles 
provide some inspiration for her next recipe!

Check out her (amazing) blog,

Maui, Hawaii: Mama's Fish House

I probably had 30 people tell me to eat 
when we annoucned we were going to Maui.

So, we did
after spending the afternoon
in the cute little town of Paia.

And it was amazing.

Now, I'm adding to the chorus
of people singing this place's praises.

Please, go if you are in Maui.

It's just such a special place.

All the Hawaiin kitsch you could imagine
and yet, the seriously best fish
you've ever had in your life.

I had the Panang Curry.
Tyler got the mahimahi stuffed with crab and lobster.


Oh, and the dessert is really good, too.

Try the banana & macadamia nut crisp
with tahitian vanilla ice cream.


So good.

And the beach outside... 

It's so gorgeous.

PS. If you're imagining a small shack
with mama cooking you her special recipe,
you would be wrong.

This is an expensive dinner in a nice setting.

In fact, I was totally blown away with how big and nice
the restaurant is considering it's location.

Dress cute and plan to spend some cash.

It's worth it though.

(You know I wouldn't steer you wrong.)

*   *   *

Mama's Fish House
799 Poho Place
Paia, Hawaii 96779

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy

MAISON MIRU: Cecelia Wreath Giveaway

I don't buy a lot of jewelry.

I know most girls update their collection
every season with new pieces...
but I, well, I just don't.

Maybe you would expect for me to offer
 some cool, understated reason
for this purchasing habit, 
but there's not one to give.

The boring truth is
that I just stick to a few pieces 
and wear them for years
until they literally fall apart on me.

I think I just can't deal with 
a big mess of tangled earrings and necklaces
getting knotted and twisted 
in my jewelry pouch and toiletry bag... 

I knew I wanted to buy it immediately.

It was just too perfect for me to pass up.

I really felt like it was something 
that I could wear with so many different outfits
and would stay fashionable for years.

Plus, at £40- it was way cheaper 
than the other costume pieces 
I had seen at JCrew and elsewhere.

So I bought it,
and I love it as much as I thought I would.

(In fact, I like it more after feeling how heavy & sturdy it is...)

What do you think?

You think you might like one, too?

Yup. I thought so.

Well, let's make that happen.

Maison Miru is offering one of you lucky readers
a chance to win the same Cecelia Wreath necklace
that I have and love.

While the line has tons of pieces that I really like...

like this necklace...

or this one....

or these earrings...

this piece stands out to me as just... well, so lovely.

(Yes, I do play favorites.)

Enter below for your chance to win
your very own Maison Miru Cecelia Wreath Necklace.

Winner will be announced next Monday.

*photos by Noah Darnell

Is This Thing On?

No blog posts in a week?

Ah, yes...
I've slipped into the black hole
of the chaos of my semester.

Forgive me.

I'm here.

I'm just busy!

(Who isn't?)

So in the void of thought-provoking blogging,
here are just some awesome things
that I have seen, discovered or eaten 
since we touched down in France.


We had such a great day in the Loire Valley last week.
It's such a quick trip from Paris,
I think you should definitely make a day of it
when you plan your trip to Paris.

Hop a TGV from Gare Montparnasse
and head to Tours.

In about an hour and some change,
you'll be there.

Plan to rent a car
and hit the open road.

Chambord, Ambroise & Chenonceau
are the destinations awaiting you.

You definitely won't regret this decision.

(It'll be an all day event, if you plan to do it right.)


If you come to Paris and you're in the Marais, 
take a quick jump up from the St. Paul metro stop
to the Sandro outlet on Rue de Sevigne.

I bought some awesome silk pants there (€20)
and an amazing white cocktail drew (€40) there today.

The sweet girls working there said they get new stock in
about ever other day. 

(I have a feeling I'm about to become so much poorer.)


I'm all about pastries,
but for some reason
I've been drawn to the simpler choices
when wandering into the boulangerie lately.

Spongey madelines, almond-tinged financiers...
these are a few of my favorite things.


While Paris is known for many lovely things...
it isn't know for great coffee.

Unless you're wanting a tiny espresso
in a pretty cafe,
"real" coffee is hard to come by.

Lucky me for stumbling on a new shop, Boot Cafe,
right next to my metro stop, San Sebastien Froissart.

The new coffee shop sits where a cobbler used to be
(hence the name)....

Grab a cafe creme 
and a piece of the blood orange + pistachio cake
to start off your morning in the Marais.


I love Marche Aux Puces as much as the next American,
but the trek out to Pore de Clignacourt is a bit of a haul 
and the prices can be a bit steep.

(I can't get stay away from it though.)

I was so excited to see the more-local market
pop up on Boulevard Beaumarchais over the weekend.

I'm hoping it's a weekly thing. 
(Any locals able to weigh in on this?)

So many great "Paris" things...
from old street signs to discarded china.

I got two really cool books for 0.50 each.


First, Viola has mastered "the look."

She gives it on command and we think it's so funny.

We are sadly having to reign it in now
because she's taking it a little too far 
and using her new super power for evil....

But honestly... it makes me laugh.

Also, I'm getting the look.

The Paris look.

With being pregnant (and huge!)
and then post-baby messiness
and then nursing chubbiness (am I the only person who gained weight while nursing?)
and then 2 year old wardrobe apathy,
I had basically given up and given into a wardrobe cycle
of about 4 items + 3 scarves.

See below for documentation of said repeated items.

Being back here is awakening my old self
and I'm actually freshening up my closet a bit.

I'm working on the extra pudge I've slapped on,
but no place like Paris to make you want to lose weight
and wear some great new clothes.

* * *

That's all I've got for now. 
Keep following the fun on Instagram.
Things are getting exciting.

If you're looking to spruce up your closet, too,
here are some pieces that make me say, "Oh la la!"

*images original to Aspiring Kennedy
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