It's Cold Outside

 trench coat: L.L.Bean // button down: Polo Ralph Lauren // sweater: J.Crew // corduroys: Old Navy watch: Michael Kors (old, similar) // bracelet: Kendra Scott (rose gold with pearl stone) // socks: L.L.Bean // boots: L.L.Bean // bag: Cambridge Satchel Company // pearls: vintage

It was cold today. And when I say cold, I mean wind chills below 10 degrees (yikes!). I actually enjoy dressing for the cold, but I will admit that there is an art to it, especially if you're dealing with the dilemma of going from the freezing outdoors into a heated indoor space. My solution is to get creative with layering.

Today, I put a plain white button down on under a wool fair isle turtleneck from J.Crew. (Side note - how cute is this turtleneck? I love the soft pink paired with navy. If you've been with B&P for a while, you'll remember that my blog theme used to feature the same color scheme back in the day!). Turtlenecks are an essential; on slightly warmer days they can replace a scarf, and if it gets really cold you can layer a scarf and a turtleneck. You can't see much of the button down, but it makes a huge difference in terms of warmth.

Corduroys are also great for cold weather. As much as I love jeans, there comes a time when they just don't cut it anymore. Enter your favorite pair of cords! I have pairs from Talbot's, L.L.Bean, and Old Navy; they're all just as comfortable as my favorite pair of jeans but so much warmer. This particular pair is a really pretty dusty rose shade that goes with so many different outfits and adds a little color.

I completed the outfit with a pair of navy marled camp socks (which I thought brought out the navy in the sweater nicely) and bean boots. My boots are unlined, although with thick socks my feet usually stay warm. If I lived farther north I would definitely invest in a wool or fleece liner. I know that you can also purchase similar liners for Hunter boots, which is also a great option for colder climates.

For accessories, I have my tortoise watch and a Kendra Scott cuff that my best friend and I picked out for my birthday. I love customizing pieces using the color bar, and during your birthday month, you can get 50% off one jewelry piece in stores! I've been in search of a bracelet to match the rose gold on my watch (I'm not a fan of mixing metals) but was debating between the druzy and regular pearl stone. In the end, my friend gave me the advice to go with the pearl and I'm so happy I did; it's much more "me", I guess! Sometimes, your friends know your fashion tastes even better than you do.

I hope you're staying warm, and are looking forward to new year celebrations!

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Christmas Tree Pickin'

cardigan: J.Crew (old, similar) // dress: Polo Ralph Lauren (old, style was called "Charlotte Shirt Dress") // necklace: KJP (old, similar) // gloves: Target // boots: Tory Burch (old, current season style) // watch: Fossil // bracelet: J.Crew Factory // socks: L.L.Bean // bag: Cambridge Satchel Company

Ah, Christmas is over. Sometimes I get the post-Christmas blues, but this year I'm actually in a really good mood. It's probably got something to do with the fact that I've been so busy these past few months that Christmas really snuck up on me (seriously, I didn't even know it was Christmas eve-eve until the day of!). Usually, the end of Christmas after all that anticipation is what makes me sad - but this year was completely different and I don't mind it at all. 

I hope you had an amazing holiday filled with warm homes, laughter, good food and even better company! We kept to our usual traditions with Christmas eve mass, presents, and then a long drive up to enjoy a wonderful dinner with family on Christmas day. It was definitely one of the best Christmases I've ever had.

Now, it feels like everyone is hopping on to the New Years Eve train, getting ready for parties and more fun. I can't wait to celebrate, but I'm also enjoying cozy time at home with my family in the interim. Sometimes all the celebrations can be exhausting!

As an au revoir to the Christmas season, I thought I'd share some pictures from when we picked out our tree last week. We are chronic late-Christmas-tree-buyers, but I love walking through the farm to find the perfect pine. It was actually fairly warm that day (don't worry, it cooled down dramatically by the time Christmas rolled around), so my shirtdress layered with a wool cardigan was plenty warm for me. To keep my hands from getting cold or prickled by the tree needles I wore a pair gloves, and L.L.Bean camp socks under my riding boots to keep my feet warm.

The star of the show of this outfit is definitely my new bag. My hunt for the perfect crossbody has ended at long last! The style is the cloud bag with gold hardware by the Cambridge Satchel Company (a London-based bag maker), and it sits at the perfect crossbody length for me. I'm so happy with it; it was a generous gift from both my parents and grandparents for my birthday earlier in the month and it's absolutely gorgeous. The leather is unbelievably soft and durable! I'm not a huge fan of black, so navy was a great neutral color choice for me - but they also come in many other shades including an oxblood that I love for winter. And, of course, the scallops! I would definitely recommend checking it out if you're in need of a great everyday bag; they also carry smaller versions of the same bag that would be more suited to an evening look.

Hope your Christmas went well, and have a happy New Year!


Snow Day

sweater: J.Crew (old, similar) // skirt: Kiel James Patrick // scarf: vintage (similar) // coat: L.L. Bean (old, similar) // ring: KJP // bracelet: KJP (similar) // watch: Fossil // boots: L.L. Bean // socks: L.L. Bean

Winter break has officially started! I'm so happy to have some time off, even though I'm still keeping busy. I've set up a schedule this week to get all of my work done (college apps, IB extended essay, IB internal assessments, the list goes on...), so that I can relax for my final week at home. I refuse to be stressed and working over Christmas!

Last week we had a white weekend, which was a great sendoff to the holidays. I love the snow; who was it that said: "snow erases the sins of man"? I think of that every time we get wintry weather. I love seeing everything blanketed in white, especially at night. Have you ever noticed how snowy nights are so quiet? It's beautiful. 

During the day, I went for a walk with my mom by a pond near our house. It had been snowing for the entire day and the ground was totally covered. Days like this really call for Bean Boots, so of course, I wore them paired with a pair of camp socks. This is the fool-proof formula for warm toes on cold days, especially if your boots aren't lined like mine (it just doesn't get cold enough in VA to warrant the lining!). Earlier in the day, I saw my best friend's ballet recital, so I was a little bit more dressed-up than I normally would be for a snowy walk. I wore a KJP flannel skirt (which is adorable! I love the name -- this one is called "Cookies and Eggnog"), a cable knit turtleneck sweater, and some thick winter tights to keep my legs warm. When we decided to leave for our impromptu walk, I threw on my coat and a scarf to add an extra layer. For accessories, I just left what I had from the recital - my usual Fossil watch, KJP pearl bracelet, and sailor's knot ring.

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Have you gotten any snow this season?


Festive Holiday Party Shoes

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight

It's hard to say what I love most about holiday fashion - plaids, faux fur, sparkles or gold accents. I've been so happy to see that all of these accents have been incorporated into a gorgeous assortment of footwear this season. 

With the holidays come parties upon parties, and that means festive outfits complete with the perfect pair of shoes. I've rounded up my favorites from various brands today. Any of these pairs would be perfect paired with a classic dress or skirt and button down for a night of dancing and celebration. I made sure to include a balance between heeled and flat options so that no matter your preference you can find something lovely for the holiday season.


Gift Guide: For the Gals

*It's the most, wonderful time, of the year!*

The holidays are upon us, finally! I'm so excited to spend time with friends and family this year and to enjoy every minute of this holiday season. I love buying the perfect gift for everyone on my list, and I always find gift guides so helpful whenever I need some inspiration. Today, I thought I would put together a few ideas of items that I think would make the perfect gift for the gals in your life. Hope you enjoy!

J.Crew - Fair Isle Sweater

I love fair isle sweaters; they're a classic that so many different people can enjoy. They also feel especially festive this time of year and can be worn winter after winter, so they make a lovely gift!

J.Crew, L.L. Bean, Land's End, and Brooks Brothers make high-quality fair isle knits at different price ranges (Brooks Brothers being the priciest, with Crew and Bean in-between, and Land's End on the more affordable end). Any of these brands are lovely options; I'm partial to this particular pattern in J.Crew's line this year, but there are so many options available to pick from.

L.L.Bean - Signature Chunky-Knit Scarf

Everyone can use a scarf, especially a lovely neutral knit that can go with many different outfits. I have many scarves that I've gotten over the years and without fail they're one of the first things I pull out when the weather starts getting cooler. They're a great thing to add to a larger gift or to just give on their own. Personally, I love the idea of creating a "cozy gift set" with a scarf, a pair of mittens, and a gift card to a coffee shop for a hot cocoa. It's a thoughtful and stylish gift option that is also very practical and seasonally-appropriate!

Mark and Graham - Tortoise Keychain

Keychains are a great budget option or stocking stuffer. Monogramming also adds an extra touch that makes these particular keychains from Mark and Graham stand out. My best friend bought me a keychain for my birthday this year and I love it -- I use it every day, and whenever I pull out my keys I'm reminded of her. Mark and Graham also have other cute options, including this adorable pom-pom keychain (which can also be monogrammed and is on sale!).

Kiel James Patrick - Tortoise and Pearl Bracelet & Pearl Earrings

If you've been reading along you've probably noticed how much love I have for the Kiel James Patrick brand. Their jewelry is truly gorgeous. Last year I received a set of pearls from them as a gift; they were so beautifully packaged and handmade, and I cherish them.

I love this tortoise & pearl bracelet and pearl earrings - they have many options in their line, but I feel that these are designs that will appeal to lots of different people, making them the perfect option for gift-giving.

Pearl earrings, in particular, are a good option for someone on your list who is tricky to buy for. Almost anyone can appreciate and get use out of a set of pearls, and these are a great price. If you're looking for more options size-wise, I've also bought pearl earrings for my mom from the Etsy shop Penner Pearls and they're lovely and high quality. I would definitely recommend them, and they're also one of the most affordable options I've found for beautiful pearl jewelry. As a bonus, buying from either Penner Pearls or KJP is also supporting a small business!

Mark and Graham - Monogrammed Daily Mini Crossbody

A purse can sometimes be a tricky gift to give, but if you know the person you're gifting well, they can be a special item that the recipient will use every day. I think that the daily mini crossbody, in particular, is a bag that many different types of girls will love. It's a classic style and comes in several different neutral color options, but it's still very sleek and modern - perfect for a night out or just running errands. Of course, you can also add a personal touch with a monogram.

Daniel Wellington - Classic Petite Melrose Watch

I've sung Daniel Wellington's praises many times here; I have a Southampton watch from several years ago and I simply love it. The Melrose watch is universal - it's simple, elegant, and will suit almost anyone's fashion tastes. It also comes in silver, or in a leather band if you would prefer. I've always thought that watches are especially conducive to gift giving because they usually come in really pretty packaging, complete with a separate box that is:

a. easily wrappable (perfect for the wrapping-impaired, like yours truly)
b. like a present in and of itself!

S'well - Gold Water Bottle

I had a S'well water bottle until a few months ago when, in a sad twist of fate, I misplaced it. I've been missing it ever since. They really are amazing at keeping your water cold all day, even when your metal water bottle is sitting out in the hot sun on top of concrete (any other tennis players have this issue?). The same is true for hot beverages. I used to put tea in my S'well all the time and halfway through the school day it was still as hot as when I first poured it. I love this gold and silver option, although they have many different colors available. Again, this is a great gift for someone if you're not sure what they might enjoy.

Target also sells Sip by S'well bottles that are a fraction of the price; I can't vouch for their insulating ability as I've never tried them, but they certainly come in just as many adorable patterns, and even some prints!

New Balance x J.Crew - Sneakers

I walked my way through London and Amsterdam in these shoes and I can't recommend them enough. They're extremely comfortable and come in so many different colors to suit anyone's style. The gold and white is a great neutral option that many different people will love, but there's also a pretty navy and rose gold version that I just adore.

J.Crew - Chateau Parka 

This is definitely a very generous gift, but I am of the mind that coats are some of the best gifts to give. They're practical, stylish, and often something you're hesitant to buy for yourself. Of course, there are a plethora of options online to choose from (I also love L.L. Bean's coats as well, especially for a less expensive option with a lifetime warranty!). I chose this one from J.Crew because it comes in both tall and petite sizes (as well as regular), so no matter who you're generously gifting to, you'll be able to get them something that will fit them perfectly.

Hope this was helpful in providing some gift ideas for this season! Who are you gifting for this year?


Stepping into Eighteen

Today is my 18th Birthday! It feels funny to have it on a Tuesday, but we stretched out birthday festivities to fit with our weeknight schedule and it ended up feeling like an extended birthday week (which I'll never complain about!).

On Saturday night, my family and I enjoyed a pre-birthday dinner. I wanted a Thanksgiving Part II, as Thanksgiving food is my favorite, and my parents were kind enough to make a delicious meal. Sunday afternoon my best friend Mary and I went into the city to see the Washington Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker. I had never been to see the Washington Ballet, but I have to say it was magical! I loved the performance; everything from the detailed costumes to the intricate and delicate stage design (pictured above) was truly incredible. Since the ballet is more formal, I wanted to dress up while staying comfortable. I opted for a white sweater over a flouncy plaid skirt from last season and tassel mules. My mom gave me the idea to leave the sweater untucked, which I love!

But of course, no outfit could compare to the beautiful atmosphere of the Warner Theater. If you're ever in DC, I would definitely recommend paying a visit to see a show. The lobby alone is worth the trip!

Tonight, we had Thai food and coffee cake (a birthday tradition for me!). Since I went from vegetarianism to veganism this past year, my mom was a star and researched a vegan coffee cake recipe so I could have some. It was delicious! She also made an amazing vegan dark chocolate cake with white icing on Saturday night.

Last year was filled with memories, and I'm so excited for the many new changes and opportunities this upcoming year will bring - both foreseen (going to college, moving away from my home for the first time, studying something I love), and unexpected. I'm so lucky to have amazing friends and family, and while I'm sad to leave them soon, I know goodbye is not forever.  On the blog, I'm looking forward to new content and another fun year ahead!