Tag Archives: travel

Sweet Home London, England

I am nearly two months into my move to London- a move that has been altogether undeniably frustrating, completely shocking, pleasantly surprising, and has affirmed my belief that I am truly meant to be here. I have had good days equally dispersed with bad ones. I am missing my family, the many comforts of my home and culture in Southern California, and the general normalcies of America as I begin, and still try to, settle into my new life in London. And while I look forward to this incredible year of opportunity, I have been reminding myself that it is okay to feel out of place.

Something that peaked my level of unsettledness came after a day when everything was going right. I was having a good hair day, I found my way easily to my university, conquering the tube like a professional Londoner. I was falling in love with my Master’s program, enjoying all the friendships I was making across my department, I was enthralled with my classes and eager to begin to learn again about the world around me in an academic setting. I met people who again inspired the passion I had ignited for the study of journalism and the pursuit of a journalistic career. I had met with my program director who affirmed in the topic of my dissertation which I excitedly began to research. And at the end of the day, although I found myself on cloud nine, I could not shake this ominous feeling that this high, this deep level of satisfaction, this unshakable contentment would, in fact, be shaken. Before the happiness even wore off, I was reluctantly waiting for something to affect it.

Almost as predicted, the next day did not nearly measure up to the previous one. Although little frustrations mounted throughout the day, it was an observed event at the end of the day that hurt my heart and took a blow to my ideality. As I sat in a convenient coffee shop down the street from my flat, I saw a woman begging for money outside the window. Over the course of the few weeks that I had been here, I noticed people approach the windows to restaurants and cafes as the begged for any spare change. While this woman approached the window, she was speaking to two men at a table inside and, unnoticeable to her, she was being mocked by the two men sitting on the other side of the glass. As she shook the change in her hand, with a countenance of desperation and plea, the men were leading her to believe that they would give her change. But, what she did not hear on my side of the glass were the two men laughing. What I knew, that perhaps she did not, was that they never intended to give her any change. And as they laughed and continued to mock her, my heart sank into the pit of my stomach.

“Where am I?”

A question I found myself asking more than once throughout the course of my international move, but a question that became more prominent than ever in the moments of that interaction. I watched these men treat this woman in a way that I would never wish to see a woman being treated. I was appalled that, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender, one human being could treat another with such haughtiness, disrespect, and neglect. But, as I processed what I had just witnessed, I was humbled. I was reminded that I am here for a purpose. I was gently reminded that by the grace of what I have been taught in my interactions with people different than myself, the world still has a lot more to learn about accepting, loving, and showing grace and compassion to people in wherever contexts they may find themselves. I hated what I saw, but I am grateful for open eyes to see the brokenness and the prejudice in that interaction through the window glass. I am grateful to be where I am, learning what I am learning, and fully immersed in an unfair and unjust world so that my compassion can continue to extend further, so that my love can reach deeper, and so that the understanding of the grace and love that I have received in my life can have a greater and more raw impact on the world around me.

So, I find it okay to be unsettled, upset, or uncomfortable, for I know that these temporary feelings play a more prominent role in a much bigger picture. Alternatively, and somewhat unexpectedly, I find myself grateful for these unexpected and utterly frustrating moments for they are the necessary and foundational moments that altogether add to the depth of my experience here in London. I am grateful for each and every moment here- moments that make me mad, uncertainties that make me miss home, and equally those inspiring events of affirmation, for each of these, distinct from one another and equally important, give life to my purpose in this year abroad. So, while I allow myself to remain in a certain space of irregularity or frustration, I do not allow myself to wallow in it. But equally, I remind myself not to constantly look ahead, not to be in expectancy of what I hope is to come, but to allow myself to rest in the ‘now’. Since my move here, I have been compellingly, humbly, and gently reminded to be present in the present. For it is the present, the unexpected, and all the unpredictably frustrating, unsettling, amazing and invigorating moments that allow me to make the endless process of settling into a new home that much sweeter.

A Weekend in Canada

Two weekends ago, Jase and I adventured to Vancouver to visit our sweet friends, Matt and Angela, who’s home base is in Los Angeles but are living in Vancouver for the time being! We miss them too much! Side note: Matt is shooting a show called Timeless. It premiered two Mondays ago. Tune in with us! You will be hooked.

img_6975So first of all, Vancouver is such a cool city. It is clean and sleepy, which makes it all the more cozy and fun to explore. I am not going to talk too much about this lovely place because the majority of our time was spent in Whistler, but one thing I must say: if you are ever in Vancouver, you must go to The Cross Design. I was utterly inspired + besides the most to-die-for lamps and furniture, art, and bedding, I got completely lost in the stationary closet. #keytomyheart

img_6963Road tripping with your besties and your love is definitely one for the books, especially on the lake sides of Canada, accompanied by old school karaoke and the pure joy of time together! We were headed to Whistler, and we could not be more stoked. The most darling town gave it’s own warm welcome with it’s charming atmosphere, and we arrived at the Four Seasons shortly after on this restful rainy afternoon. The Four Seasons hotels have a special place in our heart because we got married at the one in Dallas, and I must admit, this one might be my favorite. It is lodgey and beautiful and is filled with the glorious smell of pine. The spa was an absolute dream – I felt more relaxed there than I have ever felt at a spa, constantly breathing in lavender in the dimmed light.  The four of us spent the morning getting massages and body scrubs (the sugar treatment was Ang and I’s favorite), and then we felt rested and ready to explore.

img_6790Now on to the adventures. Night one: we bundled up as it was quite brisk, walked through the adorable mountain village, and ended at the gondola. Angela and I may have stopped at Aritzia on the way to buy a warm scarf. Gondolas are so peaceful and serene. The twenty minute ride up the mountain was so quiet and stunning and maybe filled with 40’s Christmas tunes (shhh), and at the top, it was SNOWING. We ran around in excitement and shortly after cuddled up in the lodge for some hot tea, creamy hot chocolate and lots of laughs.

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img_6862After our spa morning the next day, we ventured to Joffre Lake. We couldn’t help but make a few stops along the way to snap photos of the views. I also must mention: it constantly smells like campfires and the air here is so crisp and cool here. #yesplease + the water at this lake is surreal. It is the prettiest milky turquoise color, and the deep green trees and snow topped mountains all mixed together are purely stunning. We hiked through the forest along the lake and ended the day at the most peaceful place: Nairn Falls Provincial Park.

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img_6907img_6893This weekend was the most restful quick trip. There is something about slowing down in the beauty of nature that brings much needed restoration to my heart. We cherished every moment, and it was so enjoyable talking to the locals and getting recommendations from you all on Instagram – thank you! We already have our next trip tentatively planned. The to do: a day at the Scandinavian spa, completing the full two hour hike next to Joffre lake, and spending more time relaxing and eating at the local restaurants.

 

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A Travel Guide: Laguna Beach

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Whether it’s a restaurant, a Pilates class, or a hotel, when I find a place that feels like home, I tend to stick to my ways. I definitely enjoy branching out, but I love having my foundational go-to spots. Although we adore our home in beautiful Los Angeles, escapes are so necessary in the Kennedy household. We crave a change of scenery and a place to decompress from the normal routine, and I might go as far to say that Laguna Beach is our obsession. It is one of those places where are phones disappear and we fully decompress.

Bonus for the mini road trip commute: great conversation and travel tunes. #doesntgetbetter + side note: I love how the temperature continues to drop on the ocean bound adventure, and when we start feeling the sea breeze on the most darling little main street, windows go down, and freedom sets in.

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I must admit, I feel like I hired myself on the marketing team of the Montage Laguna Beach because I love it that much. It has truly become our home away from home, and we automatically decompress into our Laguna Beach routine when we arrive. First, we fully unpack to feel completely settled and organized. Then we always get in our beach attire and head to the spa pool. It is so peaceful, has the yummiest food, my favorite spa in all the land, an ocean view gym, and the cutest little boutique where I always buy a “souvenir” (insert laughing emoji). P.S. my favorite part about this place is that the same people work there for years, and they all are the sweetest, most joyful people who always have something amazing up their sleeve – i.e. they know I love organic produce and planted me a pineapple. {above and beyond. always.}

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The way Jason and I define vacation is good food, bathing suits, peace, and spas, so this is our heaven! Must do’s at this magical place:

  1. Go for a run on the beach, cross the rocks if the tide allows, and watch local surfers do their thing.
  2. Take a bath. When I am traveling, a good bath tub is high priority on my list, and these might be the best in the world. P.S. their bath accessories are on another level. A peek into our daily schedule: I go to the room to take a bath and take my time getting ready while Jase sneaks away to the spa for a nap next to the waterfall. Yes, please.
  3. Go an hour before dinner to the lobby for a drink and conversation before dinner. It is truly the most lovely atmosphere that feels like a big cozy living room.
  4. We love going into the town for dinner. Scroll below for our top three recommendations.

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RESTAURANTS WE LOVE

  1. 230 Forest Avenue. This place has the most delicious food in the heart of the beach town. It is a romantic, cheerful, and relaxed place with the windows wide open.
  2. Nick’s. The mood of this eatery is perfect for a beach night out. They have everything from local market vegetables to loaded baked potatoes, Scottish salmon to baby back pork ribs, and the meals will never disappoint. It is such a cozy environment and a much recommended place in Laguna Beach.
  3. Ramos House in San Juan Capistrano. I can’t speak personally of this place because it is the first priority on our go-to list in this town. It was recommended to us by my foodie mom friend in Dallas, who is the most delightful chef and knower of all things yummy. Let us know how it is if you beat us to it!

P.S. We would love to hear your recommendations as well! xoxo

san francisco love.

One of the many reasons I love traveling is to infuse myself in a city’s culture, meet locals, and stumble across new unexpected places. I took a 24-hour last minute trip last weekend to San Francisco, and it was truly a magical experience + I am amazed at how different a city’s lifestyle can be even when it is only an hour plane ride away. Jason was working at the Billboard Music Awards in Vegas (side note: so proud of my man), so I decided to go see one of my dear friends, Shannon and her precious boyfriend, Nick! We were two peas in a pod in this adorable city full of character, adventure and pure beauty.

13237739_10108205929403574_3364917124725278355_n On Sunday, we woke up to brunch at the lovely vegetarian eatery called Greens. I had the most delicious over-easy egg bowl with carrots, kale, leeks, and local yellow finn potatoes (AKA my dream). This amazing farmer’s market was bustling next door, and we met the most amazing people with the coolest stories + had a few ‘small world’ instances!

13241404_10108205929653074_4226761693402590683_nI met the most fascinating botanist, Giovanna Marie, who was selling essential oils. For those of you that know me, essential oils are a huge part of my life. I love making my house feel like a spa + they are so good for a healthy body. Win win!

Giovanna told me glimpses of her story that you can read here. She explained that she collects flowers from Big Sur and makes her own oils that serve many healing purposes for our bodies. I was sold for many reasons, but here is one of them – for Jason and I’s one year anniversary, we escaped to Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, and it has become one of our most loved locations. I purchased the Wild Rose Oil because they are made from roses she has collected in Big Sur. It is like a delayed souvenier from this special place + bonus: this oil is amazing for replenishing skin!

Here was another favorite shop called 60 Foot Farm that made the most delicious jam from their urban farm in San Francisco. The best gift or pantry staple!

See my look below + my new Hobo bag that I wear on the daily here!

four seasons staycation

Is anyone else freaking out that March has already come and gone?! March was a big month for me – one of the reasons being, last weekend Michael and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. We also just closed on a house so going somewhere far wasn’t really the best option for us right now, so we had the privilege of doing a staycation at The Four Seasons last weekend! In case you’ve been curious about The Four Seasons, or are just looking for an amazing place in Dallas to stay, I’m going to give you a little peek into our weekend!

First of all, the resort is absolutely beautiful. It’s on one of the most well-known golf courses in Texas, and truly makes you feel like you’ve escaped Dallas into somewhere far away and beautiful. But everything on the inside of the hotel is equally as stunning – from the beautiful lobby filled with fresh flowers, to the immaculate rooms. We were blown away! (Another bonus about the room – the bed was probably the most comfortable I have ever slept in. And I’m a bit of a bed snob).

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Another thing that really blew me away about this resort was the incredible service. When we checked in, the concierge already knew we were there for our one year anniversary and showed us so much kindness + was super helpful. When we got to our villa, we were surprised with a bottle of champagne & chocolate covered strawberries, with “happy anniversary” spelled out in chocolate!

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The first morning we woke up, we enjoyed an amazing breakfast at Cafe on the Green. Everything on the menu looked amazing, but we decided to try out the breakfast buffet because it just looked WAY to good to pass up! The buffet seriously had everything your heart could desire- from fresh fruit, to coconut quinoa, to freshly made breads and croissants. There was also someone there to make a custom-made omelet or any type of eggs. My husband also enjoyed their “juice of the day” which was some type of blend of banana, pineapple, and strawberry juice! So fresh and so yummy.

IMG_1369-1 Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetAfter breakfast we enjoyed the rest of our morning (and into the afternoon!) at the amazing Four Seasons Spa. It truly felt like we were in another world, and if you stay at this hotel, you must treat yourself to one of their spa treatments! My husband and I had scheduled a couples massage, but before the massage you get to enjoy all of the spa facilities. You are brought into the spa and given a locker with a clean robe. Following this, you can enjoy the sauna, steam room, hot tub, or cool plunge pool. There are also cool towels and cucumbers for you to use, as well as peach tea, lemon water, or cucumber water. I seriously could live there.

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After enjoying the facilities for a while, our massage therapists came and got us for our 50-minute couples massage. Hands down, the best massage I have ever had! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so relaxed in my life.

That evening, we enjoyed such a special & romantic dinner at Cafe on the Green. The restaurant itself is beautiful and has a wonderful view of the golf course. But, the food is equally amazing. Upon being seated, our waitress brought us complimentary champagne to say “Happy Anniversary” from the hotel, which was so yummy! Next we ordered the salumi plate, which was the perfect appetizer to snack on while we enjoyed our champagne. We both ordered the filet for dinner and cleaned our plates. If you come here for dinner, I beg you, do not skip out on dessert! I got the banana pudding tower for dessert and Michael got a molten cake that was filled with nutella and topped with ice cream. We were in dessert heaven!

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We truly had such a beautiful weekend at Four Seasons and I highly recommend this resort for anyone looking for a romantic getaway, or even a fun girls weekend! The staff is so friendly and treats you so well. Our room alone was absolutely perfect. The pool feels like you’re in a tropical oasis and the spa is one of the most relaxing experiences you’ll ever have!

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Thank you to the Four Seasons for making our weekend so special!

 

3 Days of Thanksgiving

There might be 12 days of Christmas but there are 3 days of Thanksgiving: travel day, turkey day, and black friday. All of which require their own distinct outfits! Have you planned yours out yet?

Travel day: Whether you’ll be in a car or on a plane, comfort & layers are key. I love this legging pant because it can still look dressed up but they are comfortable enough to sleep in!FullSizeRender-3 copy 3 FullSizeRender-2 copy 4
Nordstrom snood // Milk & Honey plaid shirt // LOFT skinny ankle jean // / Ray ban sunnies // Michael Kors Watch // Steve Madden riding boots

For Turkey Day: We all want to look our best on Thanksgiving Day with all our loved ones, but also need something that allows for lots of turkey and lots of lounging. I love this sweater dress look below from Madewell because it looks so chic but so comfortable at the same time!

For Black Friday: If you dare brave the crowds on black Friday, you’re gonna need your sneakers on. Lo’s favorite sweatpant jean is now 50% off and would be perfect for black Friday shopping! Pairing these jeans with a white tee & Vince sneakers is the perfect comfy/chic look

Shop our 3 days of looks here: