Email with questions, comments, or concerns. Powered by Blogger.

Reflecting on 2015

I can not believe it's already New Year's Eve!! When I look back on this year, I can't help but think of how much fun it was. I know I talked a little about it this morning, but I truly feel so blessed to have made all the memories that I did and to have all of the people in my life that I do. From my first trip to Paris in March to a complete tour of Europe in June, and so many other trips throughout the year, 2015 was really exciting in terms of travel. From starting senior year to discovering just about a week ago where I'll be spending the next four years has also made 2015 a year to be grateful for in terms of school, but I also know that'll be even more exciting in this year to come. Below are a few of my favorite moments from 2015...

January wasn't too exciting in terms of kicking off the year, but it did include the first of a few fun collaborations that I did with Caroline! I love having a BFF in the blogging world and real life too. It makes it even more fun!

February was such a fun trip to Philadelphia and New York City with one of my best friends, and that's when I toured the college that I am so excited to end up at! This was also my favorite post from February, and I filmed a Q&A video that month too!

In March, I went to France for two weeks for spring break and stayed as an exchange student in Limoges before spending a few days in Paris for the first time. It was definitely a trip to remember and the exchange was an experience of a lifetime.

April was my return from France and my first prom! Prom definitely isn't as big of a deal looking back on it, but it was a fun night to say the least.

In May I wrapped up my junior year after the second prom (for the boys school!), and then took my two best friends out to Rhode Island for a week. That trip, despite my jaunts to Europe and other more exciting destinations in terms of travel, was a trip I will never forget. That was the best week of my year and I loved every minute of it.

June was my big trip to Europe with my grandparents when I went to London, Barcelona, Paris, Venice, and Rome for two weeks. It was so cool and seriously such a treat. I loved spending time with my cousin who is like a sister to me but I don't get to see enough, and of course my grandparents too.

July was my second trip to the SGG Conference in New York with Caroline and my first trip out to the Hamptons. We had so much fun and I love seeing my online friends in real life, it's such a special week of the year. (this was my most liked Insta of the year!)

August was my seventeenth birthday and the start of senior year. I took another trip out to Rhode Island that month to visit my Dad and that was when I shot my senior pictures! They turned out beautifully and they are photos that I will cherish forever.

In September I started (officially) dating my boyfriend, loved every minute of my last season of field hockey, went to my last homecoming, and kicked off senior year. I loved this outfit post from September.

October was my second round of hosting a French student and that was quite the two weeks... I loved this post from October.

In November I returned to DC for the first time since eighth grade and had a blast hanging out with my Dad for a weekend. I also had a Friendsgiving and spent Thanksgiving in St. Louis with my mom's side of the family, and spent one weekend in Chicago with my best friend and her mom and my mom.

December has to have one of the best months of the year. From heading to Chicago for another weekend with my friend, her boyfriend, and my boyfriend, to hosting a cookie exchange for all of my friends and their mothers, to spending this past week on the East Coast for Christmas and even heading out to the Hamptons again, it really has been an incredible end to an incredible year.

To all of 2015 and the memories to come next year!

New Year's Eve with Hanes

Happy New Year's Eve! I am so excited for a fun night with friends and a fabulous brunch with even more friends this morning to look forward to as a celebration of such a wonderful year. A summer full of trips to Europe, New York, the Hamptons, and an incredible senior year so far has all been such a blessing. The people and memories I have created in this marvelous whirlwind of 2015 will hold a place in my heart for years to come, and I can only hope that my graduation of high school, start to college, and so much more will all greet me kindly in 2016. 

Casual Stripes

I love a good button down. Give me solids, give me stripes, give me all the button downs because you can pair those babies with anything and everything and you have a complete, super easy outfit. I mean seriously, throw on a little striped button down with leggings and boots like this for a rainy-day casual look to go run errands in during any of the colder months of the year! 

Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale Picks

Hello, hello! I hope you all had an absolutely wonderful Christmas and have enjoyed some time off from school, work, etc! I'm so excited about the Nordstrom half-yearly sale going on right now because my Christmas gift cards and cash can be put to good use and there are a ton of amazing things to shop from. The sale runs until January 3rd, aka Sunday, so there's a little less than a week left to shop. Don't miss out!

My pajama picks...

I'm in love with this lobster PJ set and this bra is gorgeous! Not to mention, this other bra would totally channel your inner Kendall Jenner... #goals, and it's under $20 and so comfy.

My accessory picks...

This perfume smells amazing, this little cross-body is the cutest thing I've ever seen, and just imagine how cozy this scarf is.

My clothing picks...

I tried on this top in store and I loved it in the green color! I'm definitely considering snagging it during this sale. And how fabulous is that fur coat?!

My dress picks...

My shoe picks...

How was your holiday? Happy shopping!

Merry Christmas

Wishing you and yours the merriest of Christmas's today! I am so happy I get to spend this holiday here in Boston with my Dad's family and I love getting to lounge around all day with presents, hot cocoa, and lots of love and laughter!

Have a fabulous day and a very Merry Christmas!

Winter Break Cozy Outfit + Bucket List Collab

Can you believe Christmas is only a few days away? As per usual, the season has gone by so fast. I am flying out to Rhode Island today, and I'll be spending Christmas with my Dad's family in Boston. After, I am so excited to spend a few days in New York before returning in time for New Years! Ever since the cookie exchange, I have been devouring cookies like crazy (they're all so good!) and since my exams ended last Friday, I've been loving my time to do nothing but just relax and hang out with my friends. 

That's So Fletch Giveaway

I posted about That's So Fletch bracelets last week in this post and today I'm excited to announce that I'm partnering up with Jenna to give one lucky reader 3 bracelets of her choice. I personally love Jenna's bracelets... I think they are the perfect casual pieces to layer and wear everyday. 

I have these two bracelets but I love this bracelet and this bracelet. Enter below using the widget to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will run for a week. Good luck!

Holiday City Guide

I'm well aware that Milwaukee is not everyone's number one destination fantasy when it comes to booking a holiday vacation, but my little city has some amazingly fun events and things to do around this time of year that I figured I might as well share! Not to mention, this could be a little inspiration for you to hunt around your city and find things going on.

Holiday Tea // One of my favorite things to do, no matter what time of year, is spend an afternoon at high tea with my mom, aunts, or cousins. There is nothing that makes me feel fancier than an afternoon spent dressed up and sipping on tea and munching on sandwiches and sweets. I have gone to tea at both the Plaza in New York and Harrods in London and I have been dying to try tea in Milwaukee at the Pfister Hotel and Watt's Tea Shop. Most tea rooms offer a fun holiday afternoon tea event, so be sure to look around for one available to you! Seriously, you will not regret it. Afternoon tea is a fabulous experience.

Carriage Rides // I spend a lot of time downtown on the weekends with my friends, and during the holidays you can find horse-drawn carriages decked out in ribbons and wreaths wandering the blocks just waiting to give you a ride! I took a ride last year with a few friends and it was such a cute way to see the city in the snow.

A Christmas Carol // Every year, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater puts on an incredible production of A Christmas Carol, and it really is such a wonderful holiday tradition. I went last year on Christmas Eve with my family and we made a whole night out of it by dressing up and starting off with a delicious dinner downtown. I didn't think I was one for plays or musicals, because I haven't always enjoyed the like in the past, but I loved this festive experience and I really recommend you check out the holiday musicals or plays at a theater in your city! When I was little and we lived in Chicago, we used to see the Nutcracker in Chicago downtown every year, and it was such a fun tradition. And tell me this wouldn't be the perfect dress for the occasion!

What are some fun holiday traditions and events in your city?

This post was written in collaboration with Eventbrite, a self service ticketing platform, the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events.

Cookie Exchange Party Recap

If you follow me on Twitter, Snapchat (@franacciardo), or Instagram, you're well aware of what went into planning and preparing for my party yesterday! The cookie exchange was at 3:30 yesterday and 12 of my best friends came, along with their mothers, and a few of my mom's friends came too, rounding out to about 30 people total. The afternoon was incredibly fun and such a special tradition that I am lucky to share with my mom. It was wonderful to spend the day with the people I love most and enjoy some delicious treats too. The table filled with cookies (everyone had to bring 6 dozen!) was borderline overflowing, and I think I ate enough to get my sugar fill for an entire year. 

My mom went all out with the food, and everything was delicious. Deviled eggs, cocktail meatballs (to die for), and artichoke puffs were some of the big hits, along with my favorite cheeses, fruits, veggies, dips, nuts, and more. The cranberry cocktails were so festive and cute too, for the adults of course. My personal favorite, you'll be so surprised ;) , was the hot chocolate bar towards the end! We had people over until 8:30 last night... safe to say I was up for a while doing homework.

I wore this skirt, this top (sold out, similar here), and a similar bracelet with these flats!

Of course, Carin was there too!!! Check out her post today as she recaps the party as well.


My Favorite Holiday Traditions

If I haven't made it obvious enough already, the holidays are really my favorite time of year, and for me, some of the most special things about the season are the things that I get to look forward to year after year!

I almost always do a gift exchange with a group of friends. This year I am doing a gift exchange with my friend group at school, but in the previous recent years, I did one with DWC, which was such a fun way to bond as bloggers over the holidays.

I love the process of decorating our house. My mom makes a huge deal out of getting out all of our decorations and setting up our nutcrackers around the house and my dad and I always put the lights on our Christmas tree together. Because my dad lives in Rhode Island now, it's even more special to get to celebrate the holidays with him! I'll be in Rhode Island, Boston, and New York all over Christmas break this year and I am so excited.

My mom and my Christmas cookie exchange is this weekend, and I know I've already talked a little bit about that on the blog. It's something we used to do almost year year when I was younger, but this is the latest one since my freshman year. I am honestly so exciting for Sunday afternoon to spend with my friends, their moms, and a few of my mom's friends too. Cookies, a hot chocolate bar, Christmas decorations and music... what more could I ask for to celebrate the holidays with some of my favorite people!

Also, this is completely random, but I loved this post on Julia's blog the other day. (Think of this as an ode to skipping This Week's Top 10)

What are some of your Christmas traditions? Check out Caroline's post today to read all about her traditions too- we are nearing the end of our collab!

{M&B}: Holiday Party Outfit

For our second outfit of the week, Caroline and I are sharing a little bit of a dressier look! In lieu of my cookie exchange this weekend, I'm excited to be sharing a fun holiday party outfit. I love plaid and fur for this season, and this skirt is seriously ideal for the holidays, making this outfit one of my new favorites! It's actually a pretty versatile piece I have found and I really am looking forward to getting most wear out of it as possible this season.

3-Ingredient Peppermint Fudge

I am so excited about today's post. I love Christmas recipes, chocolate, and anything that's easy to make in the kitchen, so when Caroline and I whipped up this recipe for day three of our collab, I knew it was going to be good! This easy and delicious fudge is perfect for the holidays and doesn't require any skill or expertise in the kitchen. I know for me, the idea of making fudge always seemed a little daunting, but I was pleasantly surprised with how easy this whole process was!

What you'll need...
Tin foil
Cooking spray
2 bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
Candy canes

What to do...
There are pictures of the whole process below, but these are the step by step instructions:

1. Line your pan or pans with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Caroline and I used two pans because we each wanted a tray for ourselves, but I think using one would make a thicker, more delicious fudge.

2. Pour the chocolate chips and condensed milk into the pan and constantly stir until completely melted. Be careful not to let the chocolate burn!

*I think adding a few drops of peppermint oil to the mixture would heighten the peppermint flavor- I totally wish we would have thought of this! Caroline and I also added 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil to the fudge as it melted because the mixture was almost too thick to stir.

3. When it's all mixed up, pour the fudge into the pan and spread out with a spoon

4. Crush the candy canes (a rolling pin works well for this) and sprinkle them on top of the fudge, pressing some into the fudge to add more peppermint flavor. We suggest putting the candy canes in a bag first to make this easier

5. Refrigerate or freeze until solid

6. Cut into squares and enjoy!

This recipe is seriously so easy to make and it's like Christmas crack, it's that good. Let us know if you try it!