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Buffalo Check + Cold-Shoulder Cable Knit

Happy Halloween!! I wish I was sharing something a little more festive today, but I really have no particularly exciting Halloween updates... unfortunately. Buuut, the end of October for me always feels like a very fall time, so in lieu of Halloween, here's a quintessential fall outfit for ya!

This Week's Top 10



Continuing on with a few shopping steal for the week...

4. $70 over-the-knee boots in four colors. OMG, pretty much the deal of the season. I think I need the navy ones... #hearteyes

5. Obsessed with this jacket from yesterday's post. (it comes in 7 colors!!)

6. I shared easy fall outfit ideas a few days ago, and my favorite pieces from the post are definitely this sweater, these moto leggings (only $40!) and these bootiesAmazing 

7. Not sure why but I'm really into this metallic cami.

And a little interior inspiration:

8. I'm lusting over this copper kitchen look.

9. Darius Rucker's home tour is beyond incredible... all the pops of color!!

10. Loved this peak into Lauren Conrad's apartment.

How is it already the last weekend in October?! Enjoy any Halloween celebrations!! What are you dressing up as? Last night my friends and I were boxers and wore our hair in dutch braids with all black outfits, robes, and the gloves ;)

Steal Her Style

Just a quick steal her style feature today! I love this suede jacket trend, and paired with simple basics it creates such an easy, chic fall look. 

the Jacket // Sunnies // Watch

Happy Thursday!

Dealing with Divorce During the Holidays

A big thank you to anyone who took my survey yesterday! (If you haven't already, you still can right here!!) An overwhelming amount of you mentioned you love seeing lifestyle posts and having me share more personal posts on the blog, so today I'm going to do just that. Hopefully if these type of posts continue to go well I can try to get one up about once a week! This kind of content definitely isn't the easiest to share, but it's the kind of thing that makes me feel so much better after I hit publish and vent a little bit.

With the holidays coming up, something I rarely focus on is how I actually spend my holidays, and more specifically, who I spend them with! I've mentioned that my parents are divorced, and it might be obvious at times when I chat about vacation recaps with my mom or recaps with my dad, but I really don't go into too much detail. This year for Thanksgiving I am going to Dallas to spend the holiday with my dad at his new house (he moved to Dallas about a month ago from Rhode Island), so  that means Christmas will be with my mom! For Christmas we will be heading to St. Louis to my grandparents house like we did for Thanksgiving last year to see my mom's side of the family. Last year it was the opposite, and same thing goes for spring break... it's all a rotation.

Here are two key suggestions I have for dealing with divorce during the holidays if you're in a similar situation and have to split up the celebrating:

Remember to call // I can't remember if it was my sophomore or junior year, but the first Christmas I had without my mom was such a shock to my system and incredibly difficult for me. Not seeing my mom on what was supposed to be the happiest day of the year was really hard. I was in Boston and I remember waking up at my cousin's house and not even wanting to go downstairs and see everyone because my mom wasn't there. I called her crying and it made me feel so much better being reminded that she missed me too and was thinking about me even when she was not physically in the same place! Letting your other parent know you're thinking of them and hearing them tell you they love you makes you feel so much better and so much more excited to celebrate.

Celebrate twice or do something else fun! // Last year for Christmas we went to Boston again with my dad's family, so my mom, brother, and I exchanged gifts before we left for our trip. Having a mini-Christmas with my mom was really nice, and also celebrating by throwing a cookie exchange together was such a fun event. My mom and I celebrated all season long with the cookie exchange and decorating, so by the time Christmas Day came around, I was excited to spend it with my dad.

Do you have any tips for celebrating the holidays with divorced parents? As the season gets closer I'm sure I will think of more things to add to this and I can write a sequel if you'd be interested!!

Your Thoughts {Quick Survey}

Changing from "The Blonde Prep" a few days ago to "Fran Acciardo", although it was something I expected I'd do for a while, was pretty spontaneous and I didn't try to build up any anticipation at all. Honestly, I never discussed that this might happen on the blog at all I don't think! I was studying for a midterm, needed a study break, and bought a domain. Oh, that's normal, right?

That said, I do wish I could have a little of your feedback on the new site. After all of your kind words and willingness to reach out after this post, I really have been so grateful for each reader and your ability to make me feel really appreciated and acknowledged, despite how large the internet and blogging world itself can be. 

If you have a minute, I would love if you'd take this quick survey. I just want to get a better idea of the content you guys like, don't like, want more of, etc! There is some room for additional comments as well. As always, don't hesitate to drop me an email ( or tweet as well. I love chatting with you all!

Thank you all in advance! 

Easy Fall Outfit Combos

Yesterday at Lehigh we had Open Houses for all of the panhellenic sororities here on campus. This basically means any of the freshman girls interested in Greek Life and rushing a sorority next semester came out and we were split into groups where we visited each of the nine sorority chapters. The day was pretty long and really tiring talking to three girls one-on-one for twenty minutes at each house without breaks, but it was fun to get a chance to see each house and the vibe of the girls inside. I definitely have a good idea of which house I want to rush and I am excited for the whole process in January... I think rush will be a great way for me to start to feel more at home here at Lehigh!

With events like these comes a little stress of what to wear, but I am definitely more comfortable creating outfits in the fall than during any other season because so many of my clothes are neutral and easy to layer and mix and match. I wore my favorite boots, black pants, and my Barbour with a light sweater since it's finally starting to get chilly out. However, I noticed a really cute trend on campus is moto pants paired with booties and a cute sweater or poncho! I created a few combinations of that look below. I am really into the moto pants look and I'm dying to add a cute poncho and a new pair of booties to my wardrobe.

*the widget is shop-able so you should be able to click the products directly for the link!

What do you think of this easy outfit combination for fall?

Welcome to Fran Acciardo

Since starting this little space on the internet in eighth grade, both myself and my purpose and goals for my blog have evolved quite a bit. Over the course of high school I felt myself growing out of "The Blonde Prep" and itching for a more "grown-up" blog that I wouldn't feel restricted me as much. Changing my blog name and rebranding has been on my mind for roughly two years, and after toggling between a few other potential handles or just going the simplistic route and choosing my name, I ultimately decided that sticking with my name is the best option for me.

I love blogging with a passion. Blogging really consumes a lot of my time in the most worthwhile way, and I wouldn't trade the opportunities and experiences that come as a result of it for anything. What I've learned through something that I started out more or less as a joke has impacted me more than I could've imagined, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you for joining me on this adventure!

Right now, as I talked about a little bit when I shared my college experience thus far, I am working on myself and determining the best route for me to get to a place where I am truly happy with myself and my life. Being spontaneous and making decisions like this one are the little stepping stones that build up that path for me, a path which I hope you are all as excited as I am to venture down.

Have a great night! Let me know what you think of "Fran Acciardo"

This Week's Top 10

1. This is my new favorite t-shirt in my wardrobe,

2. I got Jack this water bottle last weekend in Chicago and I think I need it for myself now, it's so cute!!

3. I'm so excited about this fall skirt staple now in my wardrobe. 

6. I'm going to Dallas for Thanksgiving and this post will definitely come in handy.

7. Please don't tell me it's too early to think about holiday party outfits, because this top (well under $100!) definitely needs to get in my closet for events to come.

8. This outfit on Liz is what my fashion dreams are made of.

9. Dear carrot tea cake, get in my mouth, like, now, please!

10. I wish every weekend could be as great as last weekend! Do you have any fun weekend plans for the next few days? Nothing too excited going on around here...


Weekend Recap: Fall Break at Home

Hello, hello! My apologies for taking a few days off of blogging. As you all probably know by now, I spent my fall break / long weekend at home where I got to see a few of my favorite people, including my boyfriend, mom, and a high school best friend. Spending the weekend at home could not have been better, or more of what I needed. In retrospect, I am so amazed at how much I loved actually being in Milwaukee! It sounds crazy to say it, but I never thought of it as any special place until I wasn't able to be there for a few months, and I came back at the absolute prettiest time of year.

Enjoy the photo overload ;)

I landed in Chicago on Friday night and Jack picked me up straight from the airport! I was so excited to see him I could hardly stand it, so thank goodness it was a quick direct flight!!!

The first thing we did Saturday morning was head to my favorite donut spot in the city: Firecakes Donuts. There are two locations, but I've only ever been to the one on Hubbard Street. Jack and I are both donut and coffee snobs, so there simply could not have been a better way to kick off the weekend.

We spent most of the day just wandering around the city, enjoying the weather and the fact that we were finally reunited!! We visited the bean, of course.

Please note: we had planned to visit University of Wisconsin Saturday evening to see a bunch of people from high school since everyone was in town for the Badger game, but we didn't end up making it. Instead, we watched the game at Buffalo Wild Wings, lol. SO, that explains why we were matching in red and white. It wasn't just for fun I swear!!! ;)

For lunch we split a lobster roll at Luxbar in memory of our lobsters in Maine on my birthday! (I just realized I never recapped that trip!!!!)

A little more wandering around CHI... Ahh, the brownstones! Gorgeous front stoops.

I used to live in Chicago, so on our way out of town we visited my house where I grew up. We actually were walking down the street when we saw a few little kids run up the steps and inside... my heart melted. It was the sweetest thing to see the little people enjoying my childhood home.

On Sunday morning, Jack and I started off the day at his house for breakfast with his parents. I missed them, they're so cute! Then, we headed to this basilica on the top of a ski hill called "Holy Hill" in Wisconsin. Jack is a huge skier, so having him show me around Holy Hill was such a nice experience... it was seriously so beautiful. I took the photo above as we drove in.

Clearly, we spent a lot of time in the car this weekend!

On our way back from mass at Holy Hill we discovered a cute mini orchard situation on the side of the road... flavored honey sticks and incredible apple cider!!

We drove back to Milwaukee and took one of my good friends from high school to lunch at a classic Milwaukee mexican spot, Belair. The Sopa de Pollo was sooo good for a fall day!!

My mom went nuts and cleaned and organized my entire room for me since I've been away. She framed a ton of photos from high school and scattered them all around my room. So, so nice to come home to!!! 

Ahh, perfect fall weather! I missed my dog too, such a little nug. On Monday I was at Jack's school in Green Bay since he had classes, but then we came back and my mom made us dinner as our last night before the return of the dining hall.

...and back to the airport it was on Tuesday!

I couldn't have had a better time, and I am feeling so incredibly grateful for the wonderful people in my life. I am so lucky to have people who make home so hard to miss!

Quick Fall Break

Tomorrow afternoon is my flight back to school from home. I have had the best long weekend (so far!) in the midwest, including a fun day in Chicago, visiting friends in Milwaukee, and now hanging out at Jack's school up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Being back in WI and just the midwest in general has been so eye-opening to realize how much I really do miss it here and love it here, especially in the fall. A full weekend recap will be up on the blog later this week, but in the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy soaking up the last few hours I have left in the pretty place I get to call home.

As a little follow-up to this post last week, coming home somehow has made me feel a bit better about Lehigh and life in Pennsylvania. Strangely enough, given that's sort of opposite what I expected. I guess it was just a reassurance that everything back here is still going to pick up right where it left off and home will be home no matter how far I go or for how long. Thank you again for all of your support.

Have a great Monday.

This Week's Top 10

1. I. Am. So. Excited!!!!! I can't believe I am actually getting on a plane tonight! I land in Chicago around 10 PM and I'll be hanging in the city until tomorrow before I head to MKE.

2. Thank you all again for being so supportive of this post. I couldn't have asked for a better response <3

3. I also shared on the blog yesterday a fun and nautical travel outfit given that I'll be doing some traveling this weekend of course!

4. One really exciting thing about being in my house will be that I'll have the option to cook!!! I miss cooking and deciding what I'm in the mood for... Imagine:

I'm drooling!

5. Omg... and I get to see my dog! Pictures of people being reunited with their dogs melt my heart.

6. The Shopbop sale is amazing. Things that never, ever go on sale are included!!!

7. This Kate Spade bag is included and it's the cutest thing.

8. This week I ordered this shirt and I am so excited about it.

9. I want to go apple picking or to a pumpkin patch!!! I need to do something "fall"ish ASAP. Hopefully I'll find a time to squeeze that in when I'm back in Wisco...

10. Have a fabulous weekend!!! I can't believe I'll be home, YAY! :)


Nautical Travel Outfit

I want to start off by thanking everyone for being so supportive over yesterday's post. It means so much to me that you're all willing to share your own personal experiences with me and support me with my college adventure. Thank you for making TBP such a positive part of my life!

The Truth About My College Experience

Yesterday I got coffee with one of my readers who is a high school senior looking at Lehigh. I love meeting you guys in real life and getting to put faces to names on a screen! It means so much to have the opportunity to form those kinds of connections and experience the benefits of blogging.

Another benefit... I am fortunate in having a space where I can really talk about whatever I want and no one can tell me I can't, and there are people out there who I know I can relate to, influence, and potentially help as a result of sharing my experiences. There are those of you who always comment, email, reach out and respond to me about what I share that makes me feel so much better, too. Blogging really is a two-way street! So, today, I want to talk a little bit about my experience throughout this first month and a half of college and tell you all how it has really been for me, openly and honestly.

A lot of preparing for college is signing up for classes, making sure forms are in, papers are signed, various tasks are checked off a list, and dorms are planned out to decoration perfection. Heading into college, a big worry is how a roommate situation will play out, if you have the right going out clothes, if you've stocked up on the cutest dorm decor, etc. However, the things that matter once you're moved into college and starting to live on your own aren't really those same things. What my dorm looks like doesn't mater at all... Going out isn't something I enjoy at Lehigh, so I don't really care about my clothes... My roommate situation is whatever. The things that matter now are things I never even considered before school, or things that ever crossed my mind.

When I was younger, I went to summer camp about an hour and a half away from my house. My parents dropped me off and I stayed for a week in a cabin with girls and a counselor, and it was like the highlight of my year. I made so many friends, had the best time, and every single year, I would call my parents the day before the last day and beg them to let me stay another week. I never wanted to leave. I was never homesick, I never even got upset when they dropped me off at camp, only when I had to go back home at the end.

Sophomore year of high school when my parents got divorced and my dad moved to Rhode Island, it was definitely a change, but I was used to him traveling for work and tried convincing myself that this was just as if he was taking more business trips and they were lasting longer. I didn't miss him as much as I could've expected to, and I was okay with that.

But, since being at Lehigh, I haven't had a similar experience. I have been homesick. I have missed my friends, my boyfriend, and my family. When my mom left and dropped me off after move-in, I couldn't look at her when I got out of the car because I didn't want to lose it and start bawling. When Jack drove me to the airport and hugged me goodbye, I was crying so hard that the people working at security kept asking me mom what was wrong with me. The first three weeks of school I called my mom crying every single night. I've considered transferring. I've gone out less than a handful of times to parties. I've made friends, and I love my classes, but college is not what I expected.

College is worked up to be such a grand experience of freedom and fun, and it hasn't been that for me. It's been so, so much harder than I thought. College is so many changes all at once, and as much as it's portrayed as the most idyllic time in our lives, it's not necessarily that way for everyone. It's only been a month and a half and I completely understand that giving it more time and trying to make the best of it is my only option and that it can improve, but I've learned a lot about myself in the process. A part of learning about yourself means that it's okay to realized you're not the same person you were, or think you are. In college, you're so, so independent. You're constantly surrounded by people, but you're forced to make every decision for yourself. I went out a lot in high school, and to be honest, I don't here. I don't have that urge. My mom knew I partied in high school and she was a really, really cool mom about it. Here, she isn't here to tell me what time to be home or whether or not I can sleep at my friend's house, but I know my limits. I know how to make good choices, and I've learned a lot about myself when it comes to what really makes me happy. That's the thing... it's an environment that offers you everything and you have to learn what to take and what to let go of.

It's hard for me everyday to wake up, go to class, and walk around campus thinking that I applied Early Decision to this school and I put myself here. It's hard to dislike it when I have so many incredible opportunities that other people might not have. It's hard to miss my friends, to miss Jack, to miss my mom and dad and to miss home. But it's all a part of the process. There are so many opportunities that come out of it, and sometimes you have to suck it up and take it day by day because it's all you can do.

Freshman year of college is hard. There are so many changes all at once, and sometimes it can be really, incredibly overwhelming. To be completely honest, I am so scared to go home this weekend. I am legitimately afraid to be reunited with people I love and to be home because I am so scared that I won't be able to get on that plane on Tuesday and come back. This weekend when my dad was in town I even begged him to help me find somewhere to transfer in January so I don't have to return at the semester. Freshman year is just hard. It's something to power through. It's something that you have to stick through to realized in the end what you want. Maybe Lehigh will turn out not to be the perfect fit for me... but maybe it will. I need to give it more time, and the solution will appear, no matter which direction that solution takes me in.

Thank you for letting me vent and for being the best listeners. To anyone going through a similar transition experience, you're not alone. SO many people are feeling this way and it's so valid to be uncertain of what you want or how you feel. 

Hopefully I didn't ramble too much :)

Signs of Fall + The Plaid Blanket Scarf

It's crazy that it's been fall for almost a month now and it's just starting to feel like the season is upon us here in PA. Being a third of the way through October is weird to wrap my mind around, but I can't say it doesn't give me an excited and grateful feeling everytime I walk around my pretty campus and see all of the red and orange leaves starting to fall.

On Sunday I broke out my favorite plaid blanket scarf that my dad got me for Christmas and I love the way the orange and navy combo always makes me feel so seasonal and festive. Unfortunately this specific scarf can't be found on Madewell's site anymore, but you can see it featured in this outfit post here, and shop similar picks below:

The blanket scarf is just such a cute and cozy addition to any fall outfit that really brightens a look and makes it feel more autumnal. Do you have a favorite blanket scarf?

Parent's Weekend: Food Diary

This past weekend was Parent's Weekend at school, and it couldn't have been more fun to have my dad in town even if just for 48 hours to hang out. Besides getting to see my dad, parent's weekend is sheer enjoyment because it's a chance to break out of Bethlehem for a couple days, eat real food, shower without shoes on, and restock on anything I need very conveniently. My dad and I discovered some really amazing restaurants, and not only was the food delicious, but comparing the food to the dining hall made the experience that much better.

My dad and I met before my third class on Friday at 11 AM. Afterwards, we picked up my roommate and went to brunch/lunch in Downtown Bethlehem at Billy's Downtown Diner. Billy's was recommended to me by a reader and I love trying out the places you suggest! It's known for it's brunch, and so that's just what we had.

My order: A pumpkin cappuccino and "South Side Grits" with chorizo.

Fun fact, I hate bacon. I know, who hates bacon?! A brunch enthusiast like me, too... Yeah it's weird, #sorrynotsorry!! But, if you know anything about what happened to my tastes buds back in New Orleans in April, when it comes to anything spicy or anything with the word "grits" you can bet it'll be on my plate. Of course, that means I had to order the grits topped with scallions and two over easy eggs, sub bacon for chorizo. Ugh, so good. The best part (besides the chorizo) was the dish included goat cheese, which is my favorite!

The pumpkin cappuccino was also really, really good. I love pumpkin anything in the fall because I'm super basic, and college has totally turned me into a coffee snob. This baby was totally worth every gram of sugar.

If I had to pick one thing I've missed most in the dining hall, it would be avocados. I am a self proclaimed avocado addict and I have no shame. Friday night, my dad and I checked into our hotel in downtown Allentown and went to dinner close to our hotel at Bell Hall.

My order: Avocado melt and "Honey Stung" Brussels sprouts.

So basically this meal was plain and simple: delicious. Like I said, I'd do anything for an avocado, and Brussels sprouts are my favorite veg. I had never had Brussels sprout done with honey though, but I have such a sweet tooth that the crispy, roasted, sweet combination was right up my alley!

For dessert we walked down the street to The Hamilton because the person at the hotel recommended the Whiskey Bar to my dad and he really wanted an aperitif, I guess. Or, I just demanded dessert and wanted to keep exploring...

Our Order: Lemon Creme Brûlée and Caramel Chocolate Banana Cheesecake

I really love cheesecake, and my dad and I have this weird thing for bananas. Like, if anything has bananas in it we pretty much just have to try it. However, the waitress didn't warn us that the cheesecake would be huge, and lemon creme brûlée sounded too intriguing to pass up, so we went ahead and ordered both. Wow, that creme brûlée.. we are still thinking about it! My dad and I both agree that the creme brûlée took the cake (ha, get it?) when comparing the two, because the little zing of lemon was such a unique burst of flavor and we couldn't get enough.

On Saturday we tailgated in the morning and then went to the Lehigh vs Colgate game all afternoon. We wanted to relax Saturday night, so we went to dinner and a late movie, and opted for pizza before. Of course, I could never go for any old pizza, so we discovered Centro, an eclectic spot also near our hotel with really nice pizza options.

Our order: Grilled artichoke hearts to start, the Risotto with spicy sausage and jalapeño and the "Funghi" pizza, which included mushrooms, burrata, caramelized onions, and truffle oil as entrees, and the "banana-misu" for dessert.

So let's take a minute to acknowledge the fact that being Italian, my dad and I know a few things about pizza and pasta. Like I said, I can go for anything spicy and gritty at anytime, so risotto with spicy sausage and jalapeños had to be done. The pizza and artichokes were my personal picks though, which did so not disappoint. I love artichokes, mushrooms, burrata, and truffle oil, so this meal really was a combination of a bunch of my faves, and although I couldn't finish the whole thing, if you'd made me, I wouldn't have complained (I did take the rest back with us, it was so worthy I wouldn't have considered leaving it behind!). 

Ahh, and last but not least, Sunday brunch at Blue Sky Cafe right by Lehigh in South Bethlehem.

The Order: 2 scrambled eggs with a side of fruit for me, the "Mega Breakfast Sandwich" for my dad, and the best pumpkin pancake with maple butter to split.

When I went to brunch last Sunday with my friends I had the pumpkin pancakes from Blue Sky for the first time, and they immediately were awarded greatest pancakes of my life. I had to share the experience with my dad, but after all of the other heavy eating prior to Sunday brunch, I knew I wouldn't want the whole order for myself and suggested we split a pancake and I ordered eggs and fruit for myself. The real maple butter really just makes the cakes so incredible, you can't get enough. Ugh, the best for last for sure!

How was your weekend? Back to the dining hall this week for me, but then I'm sure it'll be another  good ending when I touchdown in Chicago on Friday night!!! I seriously can't wait.

This Week's Top 10

1. Parents weekend is here!!! My dad will arrive at Lehigh around noon today and we are planning to get lunch together before I have to go to my afternoon classes. I'm so excited for him to visit and especially for the football game tomorrow.

2. Yesterday's blog post really was a fun one to write, I hope you didn't miss it! I shared a bunch of ideas for Halloween costumes created with pieces you probably already have in your wardrobe.

4. Sneak peek of my future home #hearteyesemoji

5. This is a really good read for anyone questioning what they want to do in college or post-college.

6. The cutest Soludos come in black and I actually need them.

8. Topshop at Nordstrom right now has everything you could need for fall.

9. This week's photo above is from Jacey's Paris trip for fashion week. Ugh, she's so cool.

10. One week until I'm reunited with my mom and boyfriend!! I am so excited for this weekend with my dad, and another fun weekend next weekend too. Have a good one! Woooooohooooo!!