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2015, although this may sound cliche, has been a year to remember. As I've said countless times today, 2015 flew by. From meeting some absolutely wonderful blogging buddies, to attempting some Instagram themes 2015 was such a wonderful year for me. My blog grew so much more then I could even ask for & I can't say nothing more about that than Thank Y'all! Without the constant support & interaction of all my followers & my friends and family members Northern Prepster would not even be close to where it is today.

On January 1st, 2015 I had 331 followers on Instagram. As I write this at 11:30pm on NYE I have 2101 followers. So not only to the 1770 new followers I gained this year, but also to the 331 followers I began the year with: thank you, I would not be where I am today without you. Thank you for making 2015 a truly unforgettable year. I can not wait to see what 2016 has in store! 

Happy New Year!


The Key to Thank You Notes

If you're like then you know that as the holiday season begins to wrap up, that means it's time to send out thank you notes to those who graciously gave you gifts. I typically send thank you notes to my family members & friends because not only is it polite but I like them to know that I'm oh so grateful for what they gave me. I know I always love receiving thank you notes in the mail, maybe it's because I love all the cute stationary and snail mail but I hope that others feel the same when they receive a note from me. 

When I was younger I dreaded writing thank you notes, I always thought it took too much time & I never knew what to say. Fast forward a few years & while I sometimes don't know exactly what to say I've learned that there's a few simple tips & "guidelines" that you can use to make writing thank you notes simple but still meaningful. 

I've put together a little "key" (from the greeting to the signature) to help you make writing thank you notes easy & enjoyable while still keeping them sincere!

Greet the recipient(s) of the thank you note by name. Instead of just jumping straight in to thanking them for your gift, start off by saying something like: 

Dear Grandma & Grandpa -or- Dear Aunt Caroline

Thank them for what they gifted to you! My personal tip? Be specific! Specify what it is that they gave you! Here's what I mean:

Instead of this: Thank you so much for my Christmas gifts
Consider this: Thank you so much for my new Hunter Rain Boots & the monogrammed ball cap!

Tell them how you plan to use your gift! I always like to do this because I think it lets them know that I've really put thought into the gift I've received! Here's what I would say:

I am so happy to be able to wear my new boots when I walk the dog & when it snows! I won't have to worry about snow getting in my shoes now! 
I love my new monogrammed ball cap! I can't wait to wear it golfing and to ball games when the weather brightens up! 

Express your thanks one more time. You can never say thank you enough! 

Thank you again for my new goodies! I truly appreciate it!

Time to show off your signature! Wrap up your thank you note by including some like:

xoxo, Riley
Sincerely, Riley
Love, Riley


Casual & Comfy Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! I hope you all had a very merry Christmas and spent your day with friends & family. Christmas is very laid back in my family; presents in the morning, pancakes for breakfast, everyone stays in their pjs until about noon and then around 4 we head over to my grandparents house for Christmas dinner. 

This year I received my very first pair of Hunter rain boots & I am oh so happy & excited to be able to wear them. I received the classic tall, black matte rain boots & I am so glad because they are so versatile & will go with so many outfits that I have! As for the rest of my outfit, I wore some basic black leggings & this boat neck striped shirt from J.Crew that I also received as a gift this morning. The stripes are black and the shirt is kind of an oatmeal color & I love that it matches my Hunters!

shirt similar | leggings similar | boots 

Merry Christmas!


Herringbone & Driving Mocs

What better way kick off winter break then brunch with friends? Friday was my last day of classes & exams and I am SO happy to finally be on winter break. Today I headed out to brunch with my two best friends and it was so much fun. 

I love dressing up for brunch & getting to spend time with my friends. It's been freezing here lately so I opted for a blue button-up, my herringbone vest, some dark wash jeans & these gray driving mocs. 

shirt | vest | driving mocs similar

Do you like brunch?


Gift Guide: Secret Santa

Secret Santa gifts can be stressful. It's difficult to find a present that whoever you're buying for may like. I know I was in this position when my friends and I drew names for our Secret Santa gift exchange. If you're like me and aren't certain what to get for your buddy, I've created a short and sweet gift guide to shopping for your Secret Santa buddy.

All of the gifts links are fairly cheap which I think it always an added bonus. I was hesitant tot buy things for my buddy for fear of them not truly liking them. The items I included in this gift guide are simple gifts that I think anyone would love to recieve!

Are you a Secret Santa this year? What did you get your buddy?


Buffalo Check

It's no secret that I love vests. I love the versatility and how you can dress them up or down. As much as I love my solid colored vests, I also adore patterned vests. I picked up this red and black buffalo check vest on Black Friday and I'll admit, I was a little hesitant because this pattern seemed to be a little out of my style. But boy oh boy am I glad I made this purchase because I LOVE the way it looks! I think it's perfect for the holiday season because you can dress it up with black pants and boots or you can dress it down like I did with jeans and a comfy pair of shoes. 

vest | shirt similar 

How would you style this vest? 


Bean Boots & Herringbone

This past weekend my family and I went down to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree for this year. We've had an artificial tree for the past 12 years but we ended up getting rid of that because it was getting old and the lights were starting to be a pain to deal with. This year we opted to head down to a tree farm and cut down the tree ourselves. 

I was hoping there would be snow because I think tree farms in the snow are oh so photogenic and pretty but I guess the sunny and 50 degree temps weren't too bad to deal with (especially since we spent over an hour walking around because we are so indecisive). 

I purchased my herringbone vest about a year ago and I am pretty sure that I will live in it these next few weeks, as I did this time last year. I love to pair a red sweater or shirt underneath the vest because I think it's just so fun for the holiday season. Since we were walking through a rather wet & muddy field, I opted for my bean boots and I grew to appreciate them even more as they kept my feet warm, but also dry. I'm convinced that it's near impossible to not get a good picture of bean boots, especially when paired with J.Crew camp socks! 

vest | shirt similar | boots | socks | peacoat similar

What will you be wearing a lot this holiday season?


Mad for Plaid

I love plaid. I loved it last year when I wrote this post and I still love it today. Plaid is my go-to pattern. Last week on Thanksgiving I wore this plaid shirt dress from the brand Active USA and it was so comfortable. After dinner my mom and I went for a walk around my grandparent's neighborhood and we ended up taking some pictures too.

What's your go-to pattern?